Activity 8: Four conceptions of freedom

2 hours 15 minutes


This activity will look at three conceptions of freedom and the key ideas that each conception brings to the fore.


Different ideas about freedom have developed over time. Each conception of freedom tells us something about society at a particular point in time, its contestations and struggles. With this activity, we look at four conceptions of freedom that emerge out of different struggles. These conceptions of freedoms are:

  • freedom as political rights and equality
  • freedom with social and economic dimensions
  • freedom as emancipation from slavery
  • freedom as independence from colonial rule


Working in 4 groups, you will be provided with one of the four ‘Freedom Declarations’. These declarations outline visions of freedom as well as the struggles that brought these conceptions of freedom to the fore.

In your group, carefully read the Freedom Declaration you have been allocated and then answer the following questions:

  1. What are the key ideas put forward in your freedom declaration?

  2. Where do these ideas come from?

  3. What would a feminist response/question be to your particular conception of freedom?

Once you have concluded the questions, package your responses in the form of a charter. Your charter must include a preamble.

Please refer to the handout for an example of a workers’ charter.

You will have 1 hour to conclude this group work and 30 minutes for the report back.

The facilitator will wrap up this activity with a 45 minutes presentation on the four conceptions of freedom and their origins and linking the presentation to the charters produced.

📖️ Readings