John Dryzek, “Democratic Agents of Justice” (Nov. 13, 2014)

John Dryzek, University of Canberra, “Democratic Agents of Justice,”
Thursday November 13 @ 4:30pm in Room 9205

While democracy and justice are the two most important concerns of political theory, the connection between them remains contested. This relationship can be placed on a firmer footing through reference to the agents who are necessary both to define what justice means in particular contexts and to put justice into practice. I show why the action and interaction of agents of justice ought to take democratic form. Democracy provides mechanisms to correct for problematic features of agents of justice, and democratic theory is needed to provide standards to evaluate claims to particular kinds of agency. The connection between justice and democracy then deepens to the extent the promotion of justice requires the interaction of different categories of agents in a democratic system. The particular agents I examine are those that dominate existing treatments of global justice: states, international organizations, the rich, the poor, advocacy groups, public intellectuals, corporations, and citizens.

John Dryzek is Centenary Professor and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Previously he was Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow at the Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, former Head of the Departments of Political Science at the Universities of Oregon and Melbourne and of the Social and Political Theory program at ANU, and former editor of the Australian Journal of Political Science. Working in both political theory and empirical social science, he is best known for his contributions in the areas of democratic theory and practice and environmental politics. One of the instigators of the ‘deliberative turn’ in democratic theory, he has published five books in this area with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Polity Press. His work in environmental politics ranges from green political philosophy to studies of environmental discourses and movements to global climate governance, and he has published five books in this area with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Basil Blackwell.