Parity of participation and the politics of status
Thompson, S. print and Armstrong, C. print (2009) Parity of participation and the politics of status. European Journal of Political Theory, 8 (1). pp. 109-122. ISSN 1474-8851 (eISSN 1741-2730)
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1474885108096963
Over the past decade, Nancy Fraser has developed a sophisticated theory of social justice. At its heart lies the principle of parity of participation, according to which all adult members of society must be in a position to interact with one another as peers. This article examines some obstacles to the implementation of that principle. Concentrating on the contemporary status order, it asks two specific questions. Is it possible to produce a precise account of how the status order might need to be ordered for parity of participation to be realized? And is it possible to derive a detailed and coherent political strategy capable of achieving such parity within the status order? The argument of is that, while Fraser has recognized the difficulties that the complexity of the contemporary status order poses for achieving parity of participation, she has nevertheless underestimated those difficulties. If parity of participation requires status equality, important and difficult work remains to be done in delineating the nature, and demands, of equality in the contemporary status order.
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