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Justice Unbound? Globalisation, States and the Transformation of the Social Bond

Richard Devetak & Richard Higgott

CSGR Working Paper No. 29/99

May 1999

Abstract

 

Conventional accounts of justice suppose the presence of a stable political society, stable identities, and a Westphalian cartography of clear lines of authority--usually a state--where justice can be realised. They also assume a stable social bond. But what if, in an age of globalisation, the territorial boundaries of politics unbundle and a stable social bond deteriorates? How then are we to think about justice? Can there be justice in a world where that bond is constantly being disrupted or transformed by globalisation? Thus the paper argues that we need to think about the relationship between globalisation, governance and justice. It does so in three stages: (i) It explains how, under conditions of globalisation, assumptions made about the social bond are changing. (ii) It demonsrates how strains on the social bond within states give rise to a search for newer forms of global political theory and organisation and the emergence of new global (non state) actors which contest with states over the policy agendas emanating from globalisation. (iii) Despite the new forms of activity identified at (ii) the paper concludes that the prospects for a satisfactory synthesis of a liberal economic theory of globalisation, a normative political theory of the global public domain and a new social bond are remote.

Keywords:Justice, Globalisation, Social Bond, Embedded Liberalism.

 
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