The Return of Social Justice and the Possibility of Universals

  • David M. Smith Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
Keywords: Social Justice, Way of Life, Cultural Diversity


Social justice is back on the geographical agenda. This paper briefly sets the scene, and goes on to explore the possibility of universals in the theory and practice of social justice. After examining the obstacles of relativism and partiality, a case is made for social justice as equalization, with John Rawls' principle of advantage to society's worst-off acting as a constraint. Such a conception of social justice gains strength from being viewed as an integral component of a good way of life, which responds to the universality of basic human needs while recognizes cultural diversity in the manner in which they are met.


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