Disputing the Substance of Justice:Redistribution, Recognition or Representation?

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南茜•弗雷泽  

Lecture 2:

Disputing the Substance of Justice:Redistribution, Recognition or Representation?

(此为南茜•弗雷泽09年3月19日在中国社会科学院发表演讲的英文稿,也是北京系列讲座第二场。——《世界哲学》编辑部)

Until recently, most political theorists tacitly conceived conflicts over justice on the model of “normal discourse.” They supposed that, however fiercely the disputants disagreed about what exactly justice requires in a given case, they shared some underlying assumptions about what a well-formed justice claim looks like. Mainstream theorists of the post-world-war-two period theorists presupposed, for example, that there existed no deep disagreements concerning, for example, the scope of moral concern (in the sense of “who counts?”) or the agency of redress (as in, which public power should fix the problem?). As a result, they conceived their task in a specific if implicit way: to elaborate normative principles that could resolve disputes in contexts where the grammar of justice was relatively settled. In effect, they propounded theories of “normal justice.”

Whatever the merits of this approach for other historical eras, it is patently unsuitable today. In the present context, justice conflicts often assume the guise of “abnormal discourse.” Whether the issue is immigration or the terms of trade, homosexual marriage or Muslim headscarves, the war on terror or global warming, today’s disputants often lack any shared understanding about who is entitled to address claims to whom concerning what; about where and how such claims should be adjudicated; and about who is obliged to redress them if and when they are vindicated. Not only first-order questions of normal justice, but the grammar of justice itself is up for grabs. What is needed today, accordingly, is a different sort of political theorizing, aimed at clarifying problems of “abnormal justice,” in which first-order justice conflicts are interlaced with meta-disagreements.

In last week’s lecture, I introduced this problem by sketching an overview of the present scene. Surveying the current landscape of “fractured claimsmaking,” I identified three principal nodes of abnormality that shadow contemporary disputes about justice. The first node reflects the absence of a shared view of the “what” of justice. At issue here is the matter of justice, the substance with which it is concerned. Such matters go without saying in normal justice–as, for example, when all parties conceive justice in distributive terms, as concerned with the allocation of divisible goods. In abnormal justice, by contrast, the “what” is in dispute–as, for example, when claims for economic redistribution are pitted against claims for minority cultural recognition. The second node of abnormality reflects the lack of a shared understanding of the “who” of justice. At issue here is the scope of justice, the frame within which it applies. Such matters go without saying in normal justice–as, for example, when all parties frame their disputes as matters internal to territorial states, thereby equating the “who” of justice with the citizenry of a bounded polity. In abnormal justice, by contrast, the “who” is up for grabs–as, for example, when the claims of bounded communities are pitted against the claims of “the global poor.” The third node of abnormality reflects the lack of a shared understanding of the “how” of justice. Here the issue is procedural: how, in a given case, should one resolve disputes about the “what” and the “who”? In normal justice, such questions do not arise by definition, as those parameters are not in dispute. In abnormal justice, by contrast, we encounter conflicting scenarios for resolving disputes–as, for example, when long-standing prerogatives of powerful states and private elites are challenged by movements seeking to democratize global governance.

Together, these three nodes of abnormality reflect the destabilization of a hegemonic grammar that organized broad swaths of justice discourse in the post-war era. In last week’s lecture, I characterized that grammar as combining a distributivist understanding of the “what” with a “Westphalian” understanding of the “who” and a hegemonic understanding of the “how.” I also identified some of the processes that are currently de-normalizing it, such as globalization, the fall of communism, and the waning of U.S. hegemony.

Thus, last week’s lecture was a prologue of sorts. Sketching a broad diagnosis of the present constellation, it set the stage for the drama proper, which unfolds in three further acts. Beginning tonight, the focus shifts from historically specific diagnostics to systematic philosophical inquiry. I ask: What sort of justice theorizing could provide guidance in abnormal times? What sort of theoretical reflection can clarify disputes in which first-order conflicts over justice are interlaced with higher-order disagreements about what counts as a well-formed claim? The stakes are as much practical as theoretical. How, in the absence of normal discourse, can efforts to overcome injustice proceed? How can we avoid deferring or dissipating such efforts in the face of seemingly intractable meta-disagreements.

The key, I shall argue, is to appreciate both the positive and negative sides of abnormal justice. The positive side, I suggested yesterday, is an expansion of the field of contestation, which makes it possible to challenge harms that previous grammar elided, such as non-distributive inequities and transborder injustices. The negative side is reduced means for overcoming injustice, given the absence of any relatively stable framework in which claims can be equitably vetted, and given the lack in many cases of legitimate and efficacious agencies of redress. Keeping both sides of this equation in view, I intend to devote each of the remaining lectures to one of the three nodes of abnormality just described. In each case, I ask: What sort of justice theorizing could simultaneously valorize expanded contestation and strengthen diminished capacities of adjudication and redress?

Abnormalities of the “what” of justice

I begin, in tonight’s lecture, with the problem of the “what.” As noted, this problem arises because today’s social-justice movements lack a shared understanding of the substance of justice. Unlike their mid-twentieth-century predecessors, who militated mostly for “redistribution,” present-day claimants couch their demands in a variety of idioms, which are oriented to competing goals. Today, for example, class-accented appeals for economic redistribution are routinely pitted against minority-group demands for “recognition,” while feminist claims for gender justice often collide with demands for supposedly traditional forms of religious or communal justice. The result is a stubborn node of abnormality in justice discourse. Today’s uncertainty concerning the “what” impedes efforts to understand, let alone resolve, justice conflicts. In addition, it poses a major challenge to conventional theories of justice.

For the most part, those theories tacitly picture justice conflicts on the model of normal discourse. For them, accordingly, a typical dispute over justice is envisioned as a simple two-sided conflict between countervailing but commensurable alternatives. That picture, in which pro directly confronts con, may have seemed plausible in the Cold-War era, when a distinctive understanding of the substance of justice was widely shared. In that period, major political currents converged on a distributive conception, which equated social justice with the fair allocation of divisible goods, typically economic in nature. A shared presupposition of first-world social democracy, second-world communism, and third-world developmentalism, that view supplied a measure of commensurability to conflicting demands. Subtending even the fiercest disputes about what should count as a just distribution, the hegemonic distributivist imaginary lent some credibility to mainstream approaches to justice theorizing. If all parties were arguing about the same thing, then perhaps their conflicts could be usefully analyzed on the model of normal discourse.

Today, however, that model is stretched to the breaking point. Recall the 2005 controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, which I characterized last week as an example of abnormal justice. Among its many abnormalities, this controversy encompassed conflicting understandings of the “what” of justice. Many who supported publication of the cartoons invoked liberal principles of free expression; casting the matter in political terms, they defended the role of a free press in a democratic society. Their antagonists articulated their opposition to the cartoons on a variety of grounds. Some used language internal to their religious traditions, by invoking the notion of blasphemy. Others objected in the less sectarian language of recognition, by characterizing the wrong as a failure of equal respect. Still others Clearly, such ontological meta-disagreements divided the supporters of the editorial provocateurs from their Muslim antagonists. But the pro-Muslim forces were equally divided. Whereas one faction was centrally concerned with what they saw as injustices of misrecognition, another focused instead on economic issues, castigating Denmark’s failure to integrate immigrants, which they interpreted in terms of maldistribution. All told, there were deep divisions about “what” was at stake.

The Danish cartoon controversy is but one example of a justice conflict harboring abnormalities of the “what.” Such conflicts do not fit the standard picture of a simple dualism of commensurable alternatives, where the question is simply, redistribution pro or con? Where claimants hold conflicting views of the “what” of justice, another question is also at issue: redistribution or recognition (or representation)? In such cases, conventional theories of justice are beside the point, as what is disputed is not just conflicting claims but conflicting social ontologies, which entail conflicting criteria for assessing claims. What looms, accordingly, is not just the familiar old threat of partiality, but the more unsettling spectre of incommensurability. Can disputes encompassing rival understandings of the “what” of justice be fairly resolved?

Whether such doubts can be fully allayed remains to be seen. But one thing is already clear: faced with divergent understandings of the “what” of justice, theorizing cannot proceed in the usual way. Far from presuming normal discourse, those who would theorize justice in abnormal times must directly confront, and if possible dispel, the threat of incommensurability. Explicitly acknowledging the absence of a settled view of the “what” of justice, we must devise ways to parse disputes that encompass rival social ontologies. The need is especially acute when we confront new kinds of justice claims, which suppose unfamiliar ontological assumptions. Unlike mainstream theorizing, which begs the question against novel claims, theorizing suited to abnormal times must bend over backwards to avoid foreclosing them.

The trick, as I noted before, is to devise an approach that grasps both the positive and negative sides of abnormal justice. On the one hand, such an approach should validate the positive effects of de-normalization of the distributivist “what,” namely, the chance to contest injustices that grammar obscured. On the other side, meanwhile, it should reckon with de-normalization’s negative consequences, namely, diminished capacities for resolving disputes and remedying injustices. Altogether, then, abnormal justice theorizing must come to terms with a fundamentally ambivalent constellation, in which enhanced possibilities for challenging non-economic injustices go hand in hand with reduced prospects for fair assessment and effective redress.

What sort of theorizing could fit that bill? The strategy I shall elaborate here can be stated in a nutshell. What is needed in abnormal times is an approach that combines a multidimensional social ontology with normative monism. Let me explain each part of this two-pronged proposal in turn.

Social ontology: Justice in three dimensions

In order to validate expanded contestation, a theory of justice must hold out the prospect of a fair hearing for disputants’ claims. If it is to avoid foreclosing demands in advance, the theory must be able to entertain claims that presuppose nonstandard views of the “what” of justice. Erring on the side of inclusiveness, it should begin by assuming that injustice comes in more than one form and that no single view of the “what” can capture them all. Rejecting social-ontological monism, it should conceive justice as encompassing multiple dimensions, each of which is associated with an analytically distinct genre of injustice and revealed through a conceptually distinct type of social struggle.

This approach goes against the grain of most justice theorizing. Until recently, most theorists implicitly saw their task as identifying a single fundamental substance of justice. Pursuing a dream of simplicity, they sought the one account of the “what” that underlies all the diverse injustices we observe in the world. This unitarian commitment is common to three major schools of justice theory, even though they disagree over how exactly to define that single privileged substance. For most egalitarian-liberal analytic philosophers, the sole legitimate understanding of the “what” of justice is socioeconomic distribution. In this view, every bonafide injustice is at bottom a matter of maldistribution; by definition, therefore, any claim that cannot be translated into distributive terms is not a bonafide claim for justice. Meanwhile, for most philosophers in the Hegelian school of European philosophy, the sole defensible view of the “what” of justice is recognition. For them, accordingly, every real inequity reduces ultimately to misrecognition; claims not expressible in those terms are eo ipso ill-formed and so not worthy of serious consideration. Finally, for theorists of democratic justice, whether agonists or deliberative democrats, the sole true substance of justice is political power and political voice. From their perspective, every legitimate harm is in essence a matter of misrepresentation; and every real struggle for justice is ultimately a struggle for political voice.

Each of those positions has a piece of the picture, but none of them grasps the whole. More worrisome, each of them quickly turns dogmatic and sectarian. Taken to the limit, the distributive school ends up defending reductive economism, while the recognition school effectively endorses vulgar culturalism, and the representation school embraces reductive politicism. Thus, each position illegitimately truncates the “what” of justice.

To see why, consider the example of gender injustice. From the distributive perspective, gender injustice is at bottom a species of maldistribution, rooted in the economic structure of society. From the recognition perspective, in contrast, gender injustice is ultimately a matter of misrecognition, rooted in the symbolic order. From the representation perspective, finally, gender injustice inheres in the last instance in asymmetries of power and voice, rooted in the political constitution of society.

In truth, however, gender injustice is a complex, multiple affair, encompassing all three types of harms mentioned here. Gender injustice combines distributive inequities, such as low pay or no pay for socially necessary work, with status harms, such vulnerability to sexual assault, with political injustices, such as under-representation in legislative assemblies. Moreover, none of these forms of gender injustice is wholly an indirect effect of the others. Gender-specific maldistribution is no simple by-product of a sexist status hierarchy or political constitution; nor, likewise, is gender misrecognition a mere by-product of androcentric economic structures and political decision rules. Nor, lastly, is gender misrepresentation an epiphenomenal expression of a masculinist political economy and political status order. On the contrary, each dimension of sexism has some relative independence from the others. None can be grasped indirectly, through the lens of another. An adequate account of gender injustice must integrate insights from all three theoretical paradigms. None of them alone will suffice.

The reason lies in the structural character of contemporary society. Highly complex, modern societies encompass at least three analytically distinct modes of social ordering: an economic mode, in which interaction is regulated by the functional interlacing of strategic imperatives; a cultural mode, in which interaction is regulated by institutionalized patterns of cultural value; and a political mode, in which interaction is regulated by the legitimate use of coercive power. Virtually all societies contain these three types of social ordering. Modern societies differentiate them, however, by spinning off specialized institutions in which different types of ordering predominate. Thus, economic ordering predominates in markets; cultural ordering predominates in civil society; and political ordering predominates in state apparatuses.

One result is a partial uncoupling of structures governing distribution from those regulating recognition, on the one hand, and from those ordering representation, on the other. Another is the appearance of gaps between the three corresponding orders of stratification, namely, class, status, and party, as Max Weber famously called them. In modern societies, then, class structure diverges both from status hierarchy and political hierarchy, even as the three interact causally. Thus, maldistribution, misrecognition and misrepresentation do not perfectly mirror one another, although they intertwine practically and interact causally.

Under these conditions, no unitarian theory of justice can suffice. What is needed, rather, is a pluralist mode of justice theorizing that can accommodate injustices of all three types. The key, I claim, is to understand justice as a multidimensional concept, encompassing all three dimensions discussed here.

Such an approach can be justified sociologically, by reference to the structure of modern society, as I have just shown. But it can also be justified historically, by the reference to three historic waves of social struggle. Seen, first, through the lens of democratization struggles, justice includes a political dimension, rooted in the political constitution of society, whose associated injustice is misrepresentation or political voicelessness. Viewed, second, from the standpoint of labor struggles, justice comprises an economic dimension, rooted in political economy, whose associated injustice is maldistribution or class inequality. Seen, lastly, from the perspective of struggles over multiculturalism, justice encompasses a cultural dimension, rooted in the status order, whose corresponding injustice is misrecognition or status hierarchy. Thus, each type of struggle targets a form of injustice that cannot be reduced to the others.

In general, then, both sociological and historical considerations suggest that ontological monism with respect to injustice is deeply misguided.[i] Contra those who insist on a single monistic account of the “what,” justice is better viewed as a multidimensional concept that encompasses the three dimensions of redistribution, recognition and representation.[ii] Such a conception is especially useful in abnormal times. Only by assuming at the outset that claims in all three dimensions are in principle intelligible can one fairly parse disputes that harbor multiple views of the “what.”

But why only three? The examples just given suggest that, rather than being given all at once, the dimensions of justice are disclosed historically, through the medium of social struggle. On this view, social movements disclose new dimensions of justice when they succeed in establishing as plausible claims that transgress the established grammar of normal justice, which will appear retrospectively to have obscured the disadvantage their members suffer. But in the moment before a novel understanding of the “what” becomes broadly intelligible, the irruption of transgressive claims sparks abnormal discourse.[iii] At such times, it remains unclear whether a new dimension of justice is being disclosed. It follows that any attempt to theorize justice in these conditions must allow for that possibility. Whoever dogmatically forecloses the prospect declares his or her thinking inadequate to the times.

What follows for a theory of justice for abnormal times? At the outset, one should practice hermeneutical charity with respect to claimants’ nonstandard views of the “what,” according them the presumption of intelligibility and potential validity. At the same time, the theory should test such views by considering whether they do in fact render visible genuine forms of injustice that the previous grammar foreclosed: and if so, whether these newly disclosed forms are rooted in hitherto overlooked dimensions of social ordering.[iv] In today’s context, this means accepting as well-formed and intelligible in principle at least three distinct views of the “what” of justice: namely, redistribution, recognition and representation.[v] Provisionally embracing a three-dimensional view of justice, centered on economy, culture, politics, the theory should nevertheless remain open to the disclosure of further dimensions through social struggle.

By itself, however, a multidimensional social ontology is not a solution. As soon we admit multiple genres of injustice, we need a way to bring them under a common measure. Thus, we need a normative principle that overarches them all. Absent such a commensurating principle, we have no way to evaluate claims across different dimensions, hence no way to process disputes that encompass multiple views of the “what.”

Normative Monism: The Principle of Participatory Parity

This brings me to the second prong of my two-part proposal concerning the “what.” Having just argued for ontological pluralism, I shall now argue for normative monism. I will contend, in other words, that theorizing in abnormal times requires a single normative principle that overarches the multiplicity of dimensions in which claims for justice currently arise. Such a principle is needed to cope with the negative side of abnormal justice. Having just acknowledged the positive side, by opening a space for entertaining heterogeneous claims, I need now to accommodate the negative side, by envisioning the provisional closure that is necessary for adjudicating them. To that end, I shall propose a single normative principle that can provide a measure of commensurability to claims that suppose rival understandings of the “what” of justice.

My proposal is to submit claims in all three dimensions to the overarching normative principle of parity of participation. According to this principle, justice requires social arrangements that permit all to participate as peers in social life.[vi] On the view of justice as participatory parity, overcoming injustice means dismantling institutionalized obstacles that prevent some people from participating on a par with others, as full partners in social interaction. As the forgoing discussion suggests, such obstacles can be of at least three types. First, people can be impeded from full participation by economic structures that deny them the resources they need in order to interact with others as peers; in that case they suffer from distributive injustice or maldistribution. Second, people can be prevented from interacting on terms of parity by institutionalized hierarchies of cultural value that deny them the requisite standing; in that case they suffer from status inequality or misrecognition.[vii] Third, people can be impeded from full participation by decision rules that deny them equal voice in public deliberations and democratic decision-making; in that case they suffer from political injustice or misrepresentation.[viii]

The view of justice as participatory parity enjoins removing obstacles of all three types. First, it enjoins dismantling of economic obstacles to full participation in social life, thus supplying a standard for adjudicating claims for redistribution: only claims that diminish economic disparities are warranted. In addition, the view of justice as participatory parity enjoins dismantling of institutionalized cultural obstacles to participation, thereby supplying as well a standard for adjudicating claims for recognition: only claims that promote status equality are justified. Finally, this approach enjoins dismantling political obstacles to social interaction, thereby supplying a standard for evaluating claims for representation: only claims that lessen disparities of political voice are warranted.

In each case, however, it is essential to anticipate, and try to forestall, perverse effects. The key here is to think through the interactions among the dimensions. Far from occupying separate spheres, claims in one dimension impinge on the others. For example, reforms aimed at reducing economic disparities can end up exacerbating disparities of status or political voice-insert an example; likewise, reforms aimed at overcoming misrecognition may worsen maldistribution or misrepresentation--example; finally, efforts to remedy misrepresentation can wind up aggravating economic or status inequities--example. Because they are practically entwined, the three dimensions must be considered together, rather than treated in isolation.

Importantly, this sort of integrated approach is exactly what abnormal justice demands. It is precisely by interrogating heterogeneous claims in multiple dimensions that we bring them into communication with one another. The principle of participatory parity is the mediating link. Overarching the three dimensions, it serves to make them commensurable.[ix]

But what justifies the principle of participatory parity? For starters, this principle articulates the central moral ideal of modern egalitarianism: namely, the equal autonomy and moral worth of human beings. In that respect, it shares a base-level commitment with many major thinkers and social movements of our time. But the view of justice as participatory parity offers a distinctive interpretation of equal autonomy, one that is far more demanding than standard liberal interpretations. Whereas those interpretations tend to be formal, this one is substantive and material. Not content with equal rights or opportunities, it insists that to respect the equal autonomy and moral worth of others one must accord them the status of full partners in social interaction. That means assuring that all have access to the institutional prerequisites of participatory parity–above all, to the economic resources, social standing, and political voice needed to participate on a par with others. On this view, anything short of participatory parity constitutes a failure of equal respect. And denial of access to parity’s prerequisites makes a mockery of a society’s professed commitment to equal autonomy.

In general, then, parity of participation constitutes a radical-democratic interpretation of the equal autonomy and moral worth of human beings. But what justifies this interpretation? Why is it preferable to other interpretations? The view of justice as participatory parity finds support in two complementary lines of argument. The first line of argument is conceptual. The basic idea is that equal autonomy, properly understood, entails the real freedom to participate on a par with others in social life. Anything less fails to capture the full meaning of the equal moral worth of human beings. That idea is not adequately embodied, for example, in equal formal rights that lack “fair value” due to the absence of the necessary preconditions for their exercise. For such rights remain purely notional, despite their symbolic importance. Only when all the conditions are in place, ensuring that all can really interact as peers, is the equal moral worth of each individual respected. Thus, participatory parity simply is the meaning of equal respect for the equal autonomy of human beings qua social actors. Certainly, this conceptual argument assumes the normative validity of the core liberal norm of equal respect and will not persuade anyone who rejects that ideal. Nevertheless, it lends support to the radical-democratic interpretation of equal autonomy.

The second argument for participatory parity is historical. It invokes historical considerations in support of a radical-democratic interpretation of equal autonomy. From this perspective, participatory parity appears as the outcome of a broad, multifaceted historical process that has enriched the meaning of equality over time. In this process, which is by no means confined to the West, the concept of equal moral worth has expanded in both scope and substance. In early modernity, the scope of equality was restricted to religion and law, where it was associated with liberty of conscience and the right to sue. Later, however, equality’s reach was extended to other arenas of social interaction. Beginning in the 18th century, the demand for equality was applied to the political arena, thanks to struggles to expand suffrage. Soon thereafter, that same demand was applied to the world of labor, thanks to the struggles of trade unions and socialist parties. More recently, demands for equality have been applied to family and personal life, thanks to feminist and gay-liberation movements. Finally, egalitarianism has been extended to civil society, thanks to struggles for multiculturalism. Today, in fact, it is difficult to name an arena of social life that is wholly off-limits to egalitarian demands.

In substance, likewise, the meaning of equality has also expanded. Earlier, formal rights were deemed sufficient to meet the requirements of equal moral worth. Today, however, one increasingly encounters the expectation that equality be manifest substantively, in real social interactions. Thus, the right to sue in a court of law now entails the right to legal counsel. Similarly, “one person, one vote” is now widely thought to entail public electoral campaign financing.[x] Likewise, the career open to talents, long linked to free and equal public education, is increasingly viewed as entailing abolition of the gender division of carework. Such examples suggest that the norm of equality is becoming substantialized. No longer restricted to formal rights, but also encompassing the social conditions for their exercise, equality is coming to mean participatory parity. Participatory parity, then, is the emergent historical “truth” of the liberal norm of the equal autonomy and moral worth of human beings.

Together, these two arguments (one conceptual, the other historical) provide strong support for the principle of participatory parity. But there is also a third, pragmatic, argument that buttresses this view. No mere “ought”, the parity principle already has some traction in existing discursive formations. Some interlocutors already espouse it, in more or less explicit form; .

When that principle is joined to a three-dimensional conception of justice, the result is a powerful force for emancipation, well-suited to abnormal times. In current conditions, when disputes over justice routinely harbor conflicting views of the “what,” the constellation of ideas outlined here supplies much-needed clarification. Overarching redistribution, recognition, and representation, the parity principle provides a platform on which to entertain heterogeneous claims. Capacious and even-handed, it accommodates claims in all three dimensions, while allowing us to parse abnormal disputes.

In general, then, I am proposing to deal with abnormalities of the “what” by means of a three-dimensional conception of justice centered on the principle of participatory parity. This approach, I claim, can illuminate justice conflicts that encompass competing views of the “what.”

Nevertheless, the exact details of the view I have elaborated are less important than its general conceptual structure. What is paramount here is that this view of the “what” of justice combines a multidimensional social ontology with normative monism. As a result, it accommodates both the positive and negatives sides of abnormal justice. Thanks to its ontological multidimensionality, it validates contestation of normalizing distributivism. Stipulating that misrecognition and misrepresentation are genuine injustices in principle, it provides a fair hearing for claims that transgress the previous grammar. At the same time, thanks to its normative monism, this approach brings the three genres of injustice under a common measure. Submitting claims for redistribution, recognition, and representation to the overarching principle of participatory parity, it creates a single discursive space that can accommodate them all. Thus, this approach offers the prospect of evaluating claims under conditions of abnormal discourse, where multiple views of the “what” of justice are in play.

And yet: a major question remains. Parity of participation among whom? Who exactly is entitled to participate on a par with whom in which social interactions? Unless we can find a suitable way of addressing the “who” of justice, this approach to the “what” will not be of any use.

Next week, accordingly, I resume this inquiry into abnormal justice by considering the question of the “who.”

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[i] Two examples, from opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum, are Ronald Dworkin and Axel Honneth. Dworkin maintains that all injustices reduce in the end to resource maldistribution, while Honneth holds that all are bottom variants of misrecognition. For Dworkin’s view, see his "What is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources," Philosophy and Public Affairs 10,4 (Fall 1981): 283 – 345. For a critique, see Elizabeth S. Anderson, “What is the Point of Equality” Ethics 109,2 (Jan 1999): 287-337. For Honneth’s view, see his “Redistribution as Recognition: A Response to Nancy Fraser,” in Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth, Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange, trans. Joel Golb, James Ingram, and Christiane Wilke (London: Verso, 2003). For a critique, see Nancy Fraser, “Distorted Beyond All Recognition: A Rejoinder to Axel Honneth,” in Ibid.

[ii] For a fuller elaboration and defense of this view, see Nancy Fraser, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics,” in Fraser and Honneth, Redistribution or Recognition? op. cit.

[iii] For an account of second-wave feminism along these lines, see Richard Rorty, “Feminism and Pragmatism,” Michigan Quarterly Review 30,2 (1991): 231-258.

[iv] The “test” I am proposing has two aspects, one moral-philosophical, the other social-theoretical. From the perspective of moral philosophy, the question is: does the proposed new interpretation of the “what” of justice identify a genuine injustice, which violates a morally valid norm? From the perspective of social theory, the question is: does the proposed new interpretation disclose a hitherto neglected type of institutionalized obstacle to parity of participation, one that is rooted in a hitherto neglected dimension of social ordering?

[v] As the previous note suggests, implicit in this discussion is another, social-theoretical rationale for a three-dimensional view of the “what.” Modern societies encompass three distinct dimensions of social ordering: economic structure, status order, and political constitution. None of these can be reduced to the others, and each can give rise to injustice. For a fuller discussion, see Nancy Fraser, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics,” op. cit.

[vi] I have elaborated and defended this principle in Nancy Fraser, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics,” op. cit.

[vii] This ‘status model’ of recognition represents an alternative to the standard ‘identity model.’ For a critique of the latter and a defense of the former, see Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking Recognition: Overcoming Displacement and Reification in Cultural Politics," New Left Review 3 (May/June 2000): 107-120.

[viii] The incorporation of political representation as a third dimension of justice constitutes a major revision of my framework, which was originally two-dimensional. For an account of this dimension, and my reasons for adding it, see Nancy Fraser, “Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World,” New Left Review 36 (2005): 69-88. See also Nancy Fraser, “Identity, Exclusion, and Critique: A Response to Four Critics,” European Journal of Political Theory 6,3 (2007) and “The Politics of Framing: An Interview with Nancy Fraser,” by Kate Nash and Vikki Bell, Theory, Culture & Society 24,4 (2007).

[ix] One might well ask, why parity of participation, as opposed to rival principles of commensuration? Without pretending to present a full defense here, let me note only that this notion has an elective affinity with the problematic of abnormal justice. When the basic parameters of justice are contested, we lack authoritative standards for assessing the merits of justice claims. Effectively thrown back on procedural criteria, we have no alternative but to envision scenarios in which all the parties can engage one another on fair terms. In such cases, we must ask: do all concerned have equal chances to participate fully, as peers? Or are some excluded or marginalized as a consequence of unjust social arrangements? Do structural obstacles block some from participating as peers? Thus, the principle of participatory directs us to interrogate social arrangements, to uncover, and criticize, entrenched obstacles to fair engagement. As a commensurating principle, moreover, it serves as a standard for evaluating justice claims in all three dimensions. For each dimension, only those claims that promote parity of participation are morally justified. Whether the issue concerns distribution, recognition or representation, those who claim to suffer injustice should show first, that current arrangements prevent them from participating as peers in social life; and second, that the remedies they propose would diminish disparities. Moreover, the parity standard applies transcategorially, across the different dimensions of justice: one can use it, for example, to assess the impact of proposed economic reforms on social status, or vice-versa. Likewise, the parity standard applies recursively, across different axes of subordination: one can use it, for example, to assess the effects on gender relations of proposed forms of ethno-cultural recognition, or vice-versa. For a fuller account of such complexities, see Nancy Fraser, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics,” op. cit.

[x] It should go without saying that “one person, one vote” also entails a uniform system for casting and counting votes. But, as we learned in December 2000, that condition is scandalously lacking in the United States.

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