Lecture 24 - Democratic Justice: Theory

author: Ian Shapiro, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014,   recorded: April 2010,   views: 1277
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Professor Shapiro takes up again Schumpeter's minimalist conception of democracy. When operationalized as a two turnover test, this conception of democracy proves far from minimalist, yet people often expect other things from democracy, like delivering justice. Although people experiencing injustice under other types of governments often clamor for democracy, they become disillusioned with democracy when a particular regime fails to ensure greater justice for society. However, societies are also unwilling to swoop in with a scheme of justice that has not been democratically legitimated. Professor Shapiro proposes an approach that synthesizes both democracy and justice and pursues them together. His theory of democratic justice has several features which he outlines: (1) it rests on a broad conception of politics, (2) it is semi-contextual, (3) it distinguishes between superordinate and subordinate goods, and (4) embodies two dimensions of democracy, which are (a) collective self-government grounded in the principle of affected interest, and (b) institutionalized opposition and presumption against hierarchy.

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