Chapter 4 Redistribution, recognition and representation: understanding justice across academic disciplines
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This chapter takes the tripartite framework of Nancy Fraser as a starting point for evaluating the different approaches to redistributive, recognitive and representative justice in several academic disciplines – economics, political and social science and law. It analyses the different types of problems these disciplines emphasize, and the different recommendations they put forward regarding justice, if any. We show that various assumptions and remedies to forms of injustice that emerge in these disciplines can be incompatible because possible tensions and trade-offs between justice conceptions, as illustrated by Fraser’s own ‘redistribution-recognition dilemma’. In this context, a multidisciplinary approach to justice results in enriching the three core concepts, even when the concepts are unevenly grounded in the respective academic disciplines. The chapter also argues that theorization of justice in the selected academic disciplines goes beyond the three aspects highlighted in the Fraserian model; for instance, including considerations of restorative and procedural justice, which can be highly relevant. The chapter concludes that the disciplines discussed in this chapter frequently develop justice conceptions in their own unique register, which, although overlaps and similarities can be identified, often depart from the terms Fraser developed. Highlighting alternative conceptions of justice, however, does not necessarily serve as a rejection of Fraser’s theory, especially since Fraser’s is an explicitly normative approach, while justice-theorizing in the disciplines under study is often heavily tempered by commitments to positivism or formalism. Rather, while it seems underspecified in some points, Fraser’s framework provides us with a template that helps us to make sense of the main debates in different academic fields and offers a useful heuristic tool for understanding different justice-claims, the fault-lines and boundaries of justice, and the mechanisms that inhibit the realization of justice in Europe in an interdisciplinary and empirically-informed fashion.

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