Justice and the Politics of Difference
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Justice and the Politics of Difference

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  9 reviews
This book challenges the prevailing philosophical reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. Starting from claims of excluded groups about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor, Iris Young de...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published August 17th 1990 by Princeton University Press
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I think I worship Iris Marion Young.
An interesting read for those interested in justice, oppression, and resistance. What do these things have in common? Moreover, how do we bind together through all our differences and fight against oppression.

She critiques idea of impartiality in justice and law. She shows the scaling of bodies, where we locate justice. We must unite as groups of people because we are oppressed as groups of people. Economics is not the only oppression. Five faces of oppression are: exploitation, marginalization,...more
Bigg Khalil
I bought this book after reading an excerpt of the five faces of oppression (one of her chapters) in a social justice reader I assigned as text in a class I co-taught. Then I only read the 5 faces chapter. Years later, I went through the entire book. While I typically disagree with making a concept such as oppression so essentialized, I like how Young took that and applied it throughout the book. This is an excellent read for those interested in social justice philosophy and for those who wish t...more
Apr 04, 2009 Matt marked it as only-have-read-certain-parts-of-it
I read all of it (for a college class) except the last chapter on affirmative action and the "myth of merit." I remember it as a book that argued for a critical understanding of and affirmation for group differences, and for ideals of justice that make room for these differences. Pretty thick at times, but the arguments were well-laid out, as I can still recall points she made all these years later.
Arguing that theories of justice concerned with the distribution of goods ignore institutional oppression, Young illuminates these forms of oppression and suggests an alternate way of dealing with plurality. Although I feel she does not arrive at a solution, I am grateful for her insights into how oppression works, and wish these could be addressed. It's an effort worthy of more than consideration.
Chapters four and six are some of my favorite chapters out of any political theory book. Young's rejection of universal humanism in chapter four is a devastating critique of universal humanism and other "impartial" ideals (like colorblindness, etc.). The clearest rejection of universal humanism I have come across. Great for teaching about the privileges of dominant groups.
I especially appreciate Young's definitions of oppression; in particular, cultural imperialism. "The culturally dominated undergo a paradoxical oppression, in that they are both marked out by stereotype and at the same time rendered invisible." Just about the most succinct summing up of that aspect of my life as I have ever read.
I read this in college in a course on Race and Ethnicity. This book was really helpful to me, and it also sparked my interest in workplace democracy.
it was just too much for me! i stopped at page 91 of 260. i wanted to get really into it and i did..... but only for moments. oh well. [sigh]
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