Global justice, sovereignty, and the problem of perspective

Journal of International Political Theory 17 (1):99-116 (2021)
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Abstract

This article argues that a state-centered theory of global justice exhibits an epistemic problem of perspective, and that this worry exhibits a gendered character. Within a liberal domestic theory of justice, the public/private distinction has been repeatedly shown to be bad for women because it creates a domain for injustice that becomes invisible to public policy and the law. This article argues that state-centered theories of global justice create an analogous space that is cut off from questions of global justice. The article therefore suggests that this way of framing questions of global justice is problematic, and is problematic for women in particular. Just as the public/private distinction in liberal domestic justice leaves cases of injustice outside the vision of the law, the hard distinction between the domestic sphere and the international realm of justice leaves cases of injustice invisible to international law. For the question of global justice, the privileging of sovereignty and non-intervention compromises the ability of the theory to achieve its purported goal of universal justice.

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Jennifer Szende
Toronto Metropolitan University

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