Handbook on Global Social Justice
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Handbook on Global Social Justice

Edited by Gary Craig

In the fifty years since Rawls seminal work A Theory of Justice, the concept has been debated with those on the political right and left advocating very different understandings. This unique global collection, written by a group of international experts, offers wide-ranging analyses of the meaning of social justice that challenge the ability of the market to provide social justice for all. The Handbook also looks at how the theory of social justice informs practice within a range of occupations or welfare divisions.
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Chapter 30: Social justice and culture: on identity, intersectionality, and epistemic privilege

Satya P. Mohanty


At first glance, a particularist approach may not appear compatible with the universalism that is integral to many influential modern theories of justice. Identities, after all, embody a subjective perspective, which implies a partial view. How can they provide secure and objective knowledge that would be relevant to justice, which has universal reach and scope? This chapter argues that these questions can be addressed by paying attention to recent non-positivist developments in cultural and legal theorizing – including concepts such as “intersectionality” and “epistemic privilege” –at the centre of which is the claim that in many crucial instances focusing on the identities and perspectives of the socially marginalized can produce a deeper knowledge of objective social structures and their effects and “realist” theoretical understanding of social identity and its epistemic status.

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