Chapter 12 The interplay and tensions between justice claims: Nancy Frasers conception of justice, empirical research and real world political philosophy
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Nancy Fraser’s approach to the theory of justice has been influential throughout the joint ETHOS project that the authors of this book engaged in. In this chapter, it is confronted with the ‘real world political philosophy’ approach as sketched in Chapter 3. It is shown that the empirical findings as presented in this book both confirm and contrast with important aspects of the Fraserian model. This conclusion has larger conceptual consequences for our political-theoretical understanding of justice as will be discussed. The empirical chapters help demonstrate that Fraser’s tripartite theory points out some genuine tensions between justice claims. They also show that her tripartite conception cannot successfully account for a number of additional dimensions of justice tensions that her theory cannot account for. The political-theoretical reflections in the chapter demonstrate that whereas Fraser’s approach to the theory of justice is non-ideal to the extent that it does not assume ‘full compliance’ and is ‘fact sensitive’, it is quite ideal theoretical in its orientation towards a substantive ‘end-state’ of justice. Real world political philosophy departs from this view by starting from a more fundamentally democratic conception of justice. We note that Fraser’s more recent work on justice may be seen as moving in a similar direction.

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