Chapter 13 Mechanisms that impede justice
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This chapter aims to unravel mechanisms of redistributive, recognitive and representative justice for vulnerable populations in Europe. Mechanisms consist of entities (with their properties) and the activities that these entities engage in bringing about change. The type of change brought about depends upon the properties and activities of the entities and the relations between them. The concept of vulnerability is defined in this paper as both a universal human condition and a situational, context dependent outcome of institutional, discursive and social practices. The chapter concludes that due to constitutional pluralism in Europe there is an interplay between local, national, EU and human rights-informed understandings of justice principles. In this complex governmental hierarchy, the EU has an ambivalent position regarding redistributive versus recognitive justice. On the one hand, the European Union and its institutions are profound defenders of minority rights, gender equality and the rights of LGBT and disabled persons. On the other hand the EU has promoted a free market of persons, capital, services and goods with strict economic budgetary restrictions, and has stimulated austerity measures by putting Member States under rigid regulations affecting the participatory parity and capabilities of exactly these groups: minorities, women, frail elderly and disabled persons. Justice principles expressed in visions, codified and institutionalised in legal tradition and/or bureaucratic, professional, cultural and social practice determine not only the shape, scope and site of justice experienced by individuals, groups and societies, but also the choice of remedies, that is the claims for justice to tackle the injustice. Democratic and interactional negotiation of these principles is an ongoing process presuming some dialogical openness.

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