Monday, November 12, 2012
Review of Nancy Fraser's "Scales of Justice"
In "Constellations" (vol. 19 no. 1, 2012), David Owen reviews "Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World" (Columbia University Press, 2009) by Nancy Fraser:
"Book Review: Scales of Justice" [pdf]
"Over the past decade, Nancy Fraser has been concerned to elaborate a critical theory of justice in which justice and democracy are fundamentally entwined through the principle of parity of participation; a reflexive criterion through which what counts as justice is to be worked out democratically by peers who can participate on an equal footing in democratic fora and where what counts as parity of participation is itself contestable within democratic fora that meet standards of minimal justice or, put another way, of ‘good enough’ conditions of democratic deliberation. For any such view, two fundamental questions arise: ‘who’ is to count as a subject of justice and ‘how’ is who counts as a subject of justice to be determined. The fundamental quest of Scales of Justice is to provide compelling responses to these two questions by setting out a theory of reflexive justice." [.....]
"[Nancy Fraser's] self-conscious effort at reconciling by synthesising insights of deliberative and agonistic approaches to democracy in a concept of reflexive justice is a significant step towards reconciling important aspects of Fraser’s work with the work of agonistic theorists such as the late Iris Young and James Tully, and opens a crucial space for productive engagement between these theoretical positions.
David Owen is Professor of Social & Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. He is co-editor (with Bert van den Brink) of "Recognition and Power: Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory" (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
See also Ina Kerner's review of Nancy Fraser's book in "Public Reason" (2010).