Local Politics, Global Economics
Conveners: Haye Hazenberg (Leuven), Christine Hobden (Oxford).
The debate on ‘global justice’ has significantly advanced in recent years, flourishing into
several distinct subfields. From general theories, global justice issues are now often debated
separately, ranging from topics such as fairness in trade, environmental justice, collective
responsibility, the legitimacy of international law and the democratic character of global
governance institutions. A broader question, however, often lacks attention: to what extent
do democratic principles support or remain in tension with wider principles of global justice?
While the need to address global injustice has become increasingly apparent, it is less clear
where, and through what channels, these duties fall and should be fulfilled.
In this workshop, we welcome papers that look at these issues. The workshop will provide a
forum to explore not only what global justice might look like, but more particularly the
structures, mechanisms and models of responsibility through which it might best be achieved.
Is it for example possible to speak about one global basic structure, or is global justice best
understood through distinct but overlapping practices, each of which generates new
principles? And are state institutions constitutive of the global basic structure and of global
practices, or does decentralized citizen action offer a better avenue for engaging the
We suspect that the distinction between political and economic duties will be particularly
relevant in answering these questions. Where political duties remain largely bound to states, a
global economic market complicates the political duties citizens of one state have towards
citizens in other states. While in states economic duties are apt to be translated into political
duties through institutions of justice, rights and democracy, opportunities for such translation
are sorely lacking globally. As the recent reality of international cooperation has been
especially dependent on market analogies, one might contest that political concepts such as
coercion, legitimacy, rights and justice are helpful in mediating global duties. International
cooperation has, however, in recent decades been characterized by economic concepts such
as relative gains, structured debt relief, floating currencies and capital controls, moving
steadily away from structured international cooperation. Reverting back to the conceptual
safe-haven of the state thus seems tempting, but arguably intellectually idle. This workshop
seeks papers that explore these tensions between global principles and local duties and
between local politics and global economics in a historical, analytical or normative light.
Possible questions of interest include:
• Is it an individual citizen’s duty to address a global injustice, or the duty of her state?
• Can citizens expect their democracy to serve their own ends or are they bound to
ensure their state pursues the end of global justice?
• Where duties are mediated through the state, to what extent are they problematically
dependant on constantly eroding state structures?
• Do citizens living in democratic states but participating in a global market incur
distinct economic and political duties?
• What is the role of taxation in mitigating the tension between political and economic
duties, and between the local and the global?
• How does private debt restructuring differ normatively from the public restructuring
• What makes international economic sanctions just? And what justifies attaching
human rights conditions to trade treaties?
• Do societies at different stages of development/and or with different political systems
require different principles of distributive justice, and if so, what would differentiated
practices of justice look like and who should take them up?
In order to make a submission, please submit a 500 word abstract to
firstname.lastname@example.org by May 23rd 2014.