Image of Dr Clare Chambers

Fellow wins 2018 David Easton Award

Congratulations to College Fellow, Dr Clare Chambers, on winning the 2018 David Easton Award from the American Political Science Association with her book Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (OUP, 2017).

The David Easton Award is given annually for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. The 2018 prize is shared with Barbara Arneil for her book Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony.

The award citation states: "Chambers argues that the practical and symbolic effects of state-endorsed marriage inevitably privilege some people and some ways of life over others, violating both feminist and liberal principles. While not opposed to marriage as a social relationship, she powerfully demonstrates the ways that state-endorsed marriage undercuts equality and freedom, and the insufficiency of even the most progressive defenses of marriage as a politically credentialed institution.

"Equally impressive is the constructive aspect of her book. Chambers is a critic of state sanctifications of oppressive and/or exclusionary forms of intimate life, but she is an advocate of state power that supports individuals equally in their day-to-day endeavors and relationships. Her theory, which is practical yet visionary, delineates how practices that marriage bundles together (child-rearing, co-habitation, caring for elderly parents, joint property ownership, etc.) might be unbundled and justly regulated by the state to protect those engaged in or affected by them without privileging married couples. Her book demonstrates how the strengths of analytical political philosophy can be powerfully mobilized as a resource for motivating political change."

Dr Chambers, Director of Studies in Philosophy at Jesus College and a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, said: "I am honoured to be a co-winner of the David Easton Award from the APSA. Against Marriage is a critique of the state recognition of marriage,but it is also a set of proposals for relationship regulation that protect the vulnerable and secure equality. I’m delighted  that the panel enjoyed both sides of the book."

Dr Chambers will explore the themes of her work in a public event in October as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.