Nancy Fraser on the “Parity of Participation”

Fraser84x84 In Eurozine:

Marina Liakova: An important theme in your writing is the concept of justice. You argue that the main problem of justice is recognition and protection of identities from cultural domination. Could you give a brief definition of justice – does it represent only a lack of domination? And taking this further, is the struggle of modern women for recognition successful and what other accents could you pinpoint?

Nancy Fraser: My own particular view of justice is a highly demanding view. My idea is that the justice requires social arrangements that permit all members to participate in social interaction on a par with one another. So that means they must be able to participate as peers in all the major forms of social interaction: whether it’s politics, whether it’s the labour market, whether it’s family life and so on. And parity of participation is quite demanding. It is not enough that there be simply the absence of legal discrimination; it means that you have all the effective conditions for really being able to participate. So I guess it depends on how you define “domination”. If you treat “domination” as the existence of systemic institutionalized obstacles of participation, that would mean that justice requires the overcoming of those obstacles. If you define “domination” in some more minimal way, it would require more than that. That’s really a matter of definition. But the most important thing for me is that there should be no institutionalized obstacles that prevent anyone from being a full participant in social life.

Is the struggle of modern women for recognition successful? If you accept my definition of justice then the next thing you have to do is ask about what kinds of things can function as obstacles to parity of participation.