Justice and the Politics of Difference

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-08-22
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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In this classic work of feminist political thought, Iris Marion Young challenges the prevailing reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. The starting point for her critique is the experience and concerns of the new social movements about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor--that were created by marginal and excluded groups, including women, African Americans, and American Indians, as well as gays and lesbians. Iris Young defines concepts of domination and oppression to cover issues eluding the distributive model. Democratic theorists, according to Young do not adequately address the problem of an inclusive participatory framework. By assuming a homogeneous public, they fail to consider institutional arrangements for including people not culturally identified with white European male norms of reason and respectability. Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference. Basing her vision of the good society on the differentiated, culturally plural network of contemporary urban life, she argues for a principle of group representation in democratic publics and for group-differentiated policies. Danielle Allen's new foreword contextualizes Young's work and explains how debates surrounding social justice have changed since--and been transformed by--the original publication of Justice and the Politics of Difference.

Author Biography

Iris Marion Young (1949-2006) was a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Her books include Intersecting Voices, Inclusion and Democracy, and On Female Body Experience.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the 2011 Editionp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
Displacing the Distributive Paradigmp. 15
The Distributive Paradigmp. 16
The Distributive Paradigm Presupposes and Obscures Institutional Context18
Overextending the Concept of Distributionp. 24
Problems with Talk of Distributing Powerp. 30
Defining Injustice as Domination and Oppressionp. 33
Five Faces of Oppressionp. 39
Oppression as a Structural Conceptp. 40
The Concept of a Social Groupp. 42
The Faces of Oppressionp. 48
Applying the Criteriap. 63
Insurgency and the Welfare Capitalist Societyp. 66
Normative Principles of Welfare Capitalist Societyp. 67
The Depoliticization of Welfare Capitalist Societyp. 70
The Ideological Function of the Distributive Paradigmp. 74
The Administered Society and New Forms of Dominationp. 76
Insurgency and the Repoliticization of Public Lifep. 81
The Dialectic of Recontainment versus Democracyp. 88
Democracy as a Condition of Social Justicep. 91
The Ideal of Impartiality and the Civic Publicp. 96
Postmodernist Critique of the Logic of Identityp. 98
The Ideal of Impartiality as Denying Differencep. 99
The Impossibility of Impartialityp. 102
The Logic of Identity in the Ideal of the Civic Publicp. 107
Ideological Functions of the Ideal of Impartialityp. 111
Participatory Democracy and the Idea of a Heterogeneous Publicp. 116
TheScaling of Bodies and the Politics of Identityp. 122
The Scaling of Bodies in Modem Discoursep. 124
Conscious Acceptance, Unconscious Aversionp. 130
Behavioral Norms of Respectabilityp. 136
Xenophobia and Abjectionp. 141
Moral Responsibility and Unintended Actionp. 148
Justice and Cultural Revolutionp. 152
Social Movements and the Politics of Differencep. 156
Competing Paradigms of Liberationp. 158
Emancipation through the Politics of Differencep. 163
Reclaiming the Meaning of Differencep. 168
Responding Difference in Policyp. 173
The Heterogeneous Public and Group Representationp. 183
Affirmative Action and the Myth of Meritp. 192
Affirmative Action and the Principle of Nondiscriminationp. 193
Affirmative Action Discussion and the Distributive Paradigmp. 198
The Myth of Meritp. 200
Education and Testing as Performance Proxiesp. 206
The Politics of Qualificationsp. 210
Oppression and the Social Division of Laborp. 214
The Democratic Division of Laborp. 222
City Life and Differencep. 226
The Opposition between Individualism and Communityp. 227
The Rousseauist Dreamp. 229
Privileging Face-to-Face Relationsp. 232
Undesirable Political Consequences of the Ideal of Comunityp. 234
City Life as a Normative Idealp. 236
Cities and Social Injusticep. 241
Empowerment without Autonomyp. 248
Epilogue: International Justicep. 257
Referencesp. 261
Indexp. 277
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