The Liberal Difference: Left and Right Conceptions of Global Injustice

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In left critiques of globalization, it is often argued that liberal-egalitarian principles are inadequate for thinking about and struggling for global justice; that they are, in fact, part of the problem. For the case of identity politics as a left alternative, the paper points at two fallacies in this notion, regarding two ‘liberal’ elements: individualism and universalism. The paper examines groupidentity claims in far right conceptions of global injustice, and shows that cultural diversity of groups does not necessitate or even favour equality and democratic participation. It then examines the left group-based claims in the global justice discourse, showing that the aspirations for equality and freedom assume the liberal notions that have been often rejected as inadequate. The paper concludes that this ambivalent position undermines the democratic and egalitarian aspirations of left critiques of the global order. The analysis is based on manifestos and publications of political parties and movements in Western Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Justice Theory Practice Rhetoric
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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