‘Empathy, accuracy and transnational politics’
by Carolyn Pedwell, University of Kent
Empathy, it would seem, has become a Euro-American political obsession. Within contemporary liberal political imaginaries – from Obama’s political rhetoric, to international development discourse, to particular strands of feminist and anti-racist theory and praxis – empathy has been conceptualised as an affective capacity or technique via which ‘we’ can come to know the cultural ‘other’.
Through transporting one into the affective world of another, it is argued, empathic perspective-taking can promote cross-cultural dialogue and understanding that leads to political action in the interests of transnational social justice.