A Feminist Multidimensional Account of Autonomy

  • Ji Young Lee

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


My thesis defends a multidimensional account of personal autonomy. The dissertation is in two parts. In the first part, I claim that autonomy is best conceptualised as a multidimensional framework composed of several interrelated dimensions or elements. These elements include self-determination, self-governance, self-authorisation, and social recognition. My view is that this account can serve as a nuanced framework that will help us make sense of difficult cases of autonomy, as well as clashing feminist intuitions over autonomy. In the second part, I offer comparative analyses of my own view in relation to a range of influential, unidimensional feminist autonomy theories. These include the normative competence view, the dialogical view, and the social-relational view. In so doing, I track aspects of the literature that have informed my account. At the same time, I highlight the limitations of these competing views by stating how my own account is able to enhance the insights contained in these views. Critically evaluating these accounts in tandem with my own account will thus bring into sharp focus why I am motivated to advance a multidimensional conception of autonomy, and how my conception improves on existing frameworks. Ultimately, I hope to have demonstrated that my multidimensional view is a robust account of autonomy that satisfies major feminist interests and meaningfully competes with other feminist accounts of autonomy.
Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJoanna M Burch-Brown (Supervisor)

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