The Discourse of Justice in Political, Legal and Moral Community

  • J. Peter Burgess


This chapter investigates the hypothesis of a correlation between two distinct crises in the human and social sciences. The one involves recent attempts to articulate the set of conditions adequate and necessary to the constitution of a just society; the other attempts to account for the rise and expansion of the notion of community. It argues that the evolution of these two discourses have always been intertwined, if not co-determinate, and that attention to this interrelation will cast light on our particular understanding of justice. Communities emerge, multiply and overlap. They produce criss-crossing identities and loyalties. By the same token, the predicates that determine communities are not stable and the political bodies that represent them to both community members and non-members are not fixed. This sense of crisis which emerges from the variability of the political community corresponds to the rise of the idea of ‘multiculturalism’ and the notion of a multi-layered amalgamation of cultural and social identities known as ‘glocalization’. By virtue of a variety of global factors, cultural identity becomes more intermingled, making community boundaries more porous. Global awareness has given force to local legitimacy and cultural sovereignty. The local is legitimated against a wider global by virtue of it being local. In order to reconstruct the relationship between community and justice, the chapter begins by carrying out brief analyses of three sub-discourses of community: political, legal and moral. It then turns to the recent debate around the concept of justice in order to map out its relation to the concept of community.


Political Community Moral Community Political Body Legal Positivism Legal Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anderson, B.R. 1991. Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, J. 2002. In Lectures on jurisprudence, ed. R. Campbell. Bristol: Thoemmes.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, A.P. 1985. The symbolic construction of community. London/New York: E. Horwood/Tavistock Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Delanty, G. 2003. Community. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Derrida, J. 1994. Force de loi: Le ‘Fondement mystique de l’autorité’. Paris: Galilée.Google Scholar
  6. Gutmann, A. 1994. Multiculturalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Harris, J.W. 2003. Legal philosophies. Oxford: Reed Elsevier.Google Scholar
  8. Hart, H.L.A. 1994. The concept of law. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  9. Hobsbawm, E.J. 1994. The age of extremes: A history of the world, 1914–1991. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  10. Kolm, S.-C. 1998. Modern theories of justice. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
  11. MacIntyre, A.C. 1984. After virtue a study in moral theory. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  12. MacIntyre, A.C. 1988. Whose justice? Which rationality? Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  13. Oxford English Dictionary. 1971. The compact edition of the Oxford English dictionary, vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Rawls, J. 1971. A theory of justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Rawls, J. 1996. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sandel, M.J. 1998. Liberalism and the limits of justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Selznick, P. 1992. The moral commonwealth: Social theory and the promise of community. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Simmonds, N.E. 2002. Central issues in jurisprudence: Justice, law and rights. London: Sweet & Maxwell.Google Scholar
  19. Taylor, C. 1989. Sources of the self: The making of the modern identity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Taylor, C. 1994. The politics of recognition. In Multiculturalism: Examining the politics of recognition, ed. A. Gutmann, 25–74. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Taylor, C. 1995. Philosophical arguments. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Walzer, M. 1983. Spheres of justice: A defense of pluralism and equality. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations