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Culture, Citizenship, and CommunityA Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness$
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Joseph H. Carens

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297688.001.0001

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Complex Justice, Cultural Difference, and Political Community

Complex Justice, Cultural Difference, and Political Community

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Complex Justice, Cultural Difference, and Political Community
Source:
Culture, Citizenship, and Community
Author(s):

Joseph H. Carens (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198297688.003.0002

Uses Michael Walzer's Spheres of Justice as a vehicle for reflecting on the problem of universalism and relativism, with particular attention to the question of the moral relevance of cultural differences between political communities. It celebrates Walzer's contextual approach to theory and defends some of his key insights, using the Override Clause in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a way of illustrating the moral importance of differences in political culture. But it also argues that Walzer's assertion that there is a tight link between moral community and political community conflicts with claims that he makes about justice in other societies. The chapter explores the question of whether and how we should judge history. It then uses gender equality and democracy as test cases for exploring how far our moral minimalism should extend and how open we should be to moral and cultural relativism.

Keywords:   Canada, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, culture, democracy, gender equality, moral minimalism, political community, relativism, universalism, Michael Walzer

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