Structural Injustice and Massively Shared Obligations

Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (1):1-16 (2021)

Abstract

It is often argued that our obligations to address structural injustice are collective in character. But what exactly does it mean for ‘ordinary citizens’ to have collective obligations visà- vis large-scale injustice? In this paper, I propose to pay closer attention to the different kinds of collective action needed in addressing some of these structural injustices and the extent to which these are available to large, unorganised groups of people. I argue that large, dispersed and unorganised groups of people are often in a position to perform distributive collective actions. As such, ordinary citizens can have massively shared obligations to address structural injustice through distributive action, but, ultimately, such obligations are ‘collective’ only in a fairly weak sense.

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