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Responsibility for Justice$
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Iris Marion Young

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195392388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392388.001.0001

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Structure as the Subject of Justice

Structure as the Subject of Justice

(p.43) Two Structure as the Subject of Justice
Responsibility for Justice

Iris Marion Young (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on a specific kind of moral wrong—structural injustice—which is distinct from wrongs traceable to specific individual actions or policies. The chapter is organized as follows. Section I explains these distinctions between types of wrong and expands on the example of the lack of affordable housing to illustrate the concept of structural injustice. Section II conceptualizes social-structural processes by drawing on the ideas of several social theorists, including Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jean–Paul Sartre. Section III returns to reflection on injustice by recalling John Rawls's claim that the subject of justice is the basic structure of society. It examines critiques of this claim that argue that Rawls too starkly separates institutional justice from individual action. It is argued that in order properly to respond to these critiques, a conception of justice needs to revise an understanding of what it means to say that the subject of justice is structure.

Keywords:   structural injustice, moral wrong, affordable housing, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean–Paul Sartre, John Rawls, justice

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