InHouse&Guests Workshop

Notions of Justice in Global Cooperation - A Workshop with Thomas Pogge

6th December 2012

For a long time, the nation state was not just the institution central to organising politics and society in the Western World. It also was the main locus and focus of thinking about social justice. Both great traditions of liberal social thinking, utilitarianism and contractualism, work with the notion of society being encapsulated in a container-like nation state that sets the boundaries for society and thus also for social justice. At a close look, this assumption has never been without problems. The growing permeability of borders for communication, goods, money, and people in many parts of the world – a set of processes often dubbed “globalisation” – in the last decades has rendered it less and less useful even as a starting point for thinking about justice. Not surprisingly, philosophers have taken up the challenge and developed cosmopolitan, communitarian and other conceptions of justice beyond the nation state.

At the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, research sets out to study prospects of and challenges for cooperation beyond the nation state in a globalising and growingly culturally diverse world. Thus, for the Centre, questions of social justice are of key importance in at least two ways: First, if the group of actors that are relevant in world politics is becoming more and more diverse, do ensuing understandings of social justice also go beyond the confines of Western social and political thinking? Is it still promising to restrain our discussions of social and global justice to thoughts emanating from the Western liberal tradition, or will discussions have to be opened up further – and if so, in what way? Second, and related to the first question, what implication do different notions of social justice have for international and transnational cooperation to address problems of common human concern? Do we need identical or at least overlapping or compatible conceptions of justice to secure sustainable cooperative agreements? Is justice the key to attain a widely shared readiness to cooperate on a global scale? Or are justice and cooperation competing goals that complicate each other rather than going hand in hand?

This brief three-hour-workshop brought together researchers with different backgrounds who have worked on global justice and/or global cooperation, in order to foster and further the discussion on these issues. The workshop was divided in two sessions. In the first session, we looked at notions of social justice in light of a growing social and cultural diversification. The second session then focused on the relationship of justice and cooperation in more detail. In each session, there were two brief inputs by workshop participants to set the stage for a lively and open discussion.

Time: 11.30 – 16.00
Venue: Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg

Workshop Programme (German)