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Edited by Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang
Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen
Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang
International legal scholarship has increasingly turned to various traditions of sociology and social thought to challenge the constraints of orthodox international legal thinking, and to develop new kinds of thinking, more suitable for the rapidly transforming social and political landscape in which contemporary international lawyering is done. This Research Handbook seeks to showcase this work, marking the present fertile period of creative borrowing between the disciplines of international law and sociology with a collection of works at its cutting edge. Each contributor to the Research Handbook situates their intervention within a particular tradition of sociological or social theoretical thinking, and then explains how and why this tradition is useful in thinking about some contemporary development, or problem, within the domain of international law and governance. This introductory chapter seeks to clear the ground for the contributions which follow, by outlining a map of some major theoretical conversations within sociology. It identifies three core approaches which are most commonly identified in sociological literature, and briefly reflects on a number of early engagements between international law and sociology (mainly the writings of Max Huber and Julius Stone). It then argues that more recent engagements between international law and social thought stem in significant part from attempts to understand the nature, dynamics, and stakes of globalization as it relates to law, and reflect the main arena in which the significance of post-structural social theory for international law continues to be negotiated and defined.
Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen
Edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg
Edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg
This chapter discusses the emerging theories of social justice, broadly starting with Rawls’ key text A Theory of Justice. The author argues that Rawls’ book, more than any other, and despite a mass of philosophical work from the period of the ancient Greeks onwards, which discussed the nature of justice, set the template for analytic normative theorising about social justice within the ‘Western’ world. The developing critiques of Rawls’ work, particularly from the theories of Nussbaum, Fraser, Young and others are reviewed and, using two ‘real-life’ vignettes, contemporary discussion of the dimensions of redistribution, resources, and inequality is analysed.
This chapter reviews the meaning of social justice in the context of the post-apartheid struggle for peace, reconciliation, transformation and development in South Africa. It offers a view on how social justice can be pursued in South Africa, given its historical development and present struggles. It is clear that South Africa’s fight for freedom recognised that democratic change was necessary for improvement in the overall quality of life for all in the country, especially the historically disenfranchised majority. Political and social struggles prior to 1994 mobilised for a process of wide-scale transformation of state institutions, policies and legislation to dismantle the apartheid state and create change that would embed constitutional democracy and social justice. Two decades after coming to power, the democratically elected governments still face the need to address the shadow of apartheid’s racial history and monopoly capitalism, which continue to influence policy outcomes for the majority of citizens.
W. Thomas Duncanson
The context for discussion of social justice in the United States is its remarkable national wealth, equating to a comparatively generous average individual income across the country. From this perspective, the accusation that the United States is a socially unjust nation, unwilling or unable seriously to address the fair expectations of its people is surprising but true. If, as the author argues, a fundamental material generosity and permissive inclusiveness should come easily to any people, it should be the Americans; sadly, it does not. He supports this assertion with a detailed analysis of key factors such as poverty, inequality, and difference, reminding us that access to life chances are highly racialized. Americans are trapped by myths, for example about their own and their country’s generosity. These inequalities, unsolved matters of racial and sexual justice, the unfinished question of violence, mean that the United States enters the future with an enormous agenda of social justice issues.
This chapter discusses the nature of social justice in Australia through the lens of a detailed investigation into the treatment of aboriginal/Indigenous people and, in particular, their children. In the twentieth century, many of these children were ‘stolen’ by the white-dominated Australian federal and state governments and given to settlers to adopt and bring up in western traditions. A significant number of the children were abused. The author reviews the campaigns of the past 30 years that have sought to stop this practice, return the children to their natural families and assert their traditional identities in the context of wider struggles, particularly over land rights and economic exploitation. The chapter examines the failure of Australian governments to address policy recommendations, and dissects the varied causes of the rapid rise in the number of Indigenous children entering the out-of-home care system.