Bourdieu's Theory Of Justice '

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14 April 2016


The general framework about the theory of justice and inequalities while reading Smith, Sen, Nussbaumm and Rawls, provoke me to rethink the idea of inequality and justice within the framework traced by Pierre Bourdieu. Since the misinterpretation of man as homo economicus is the common concern for all these theories as well as for Bourdieu, reframing the human motivation seems to me highly important to understand the experiences and processes of inequalities. In this reflection paper, my aim, after concluding general remarks of the relevant theories and ideas, is to discuss Bourdieu’s sociological concepts in order to provide a complementary framework to the idea of
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In A Theory of Justice, Rawls aim to justify the principles of justice as fairness by reference to individual rational choice. He grounds his view on the ideas on “society as a fair system of cooperation” and of “citizens as free and equal persons” (Rawls 1995:11). Acknowledging that people have diverse interests, the tries to answer to how they can reach an agreement in matters of justice. The conception of justice as fairness is important in order to understand the logic of principle of justice. In this hypothetical situation of equal liberty, Raws states that free and equal persons concerned to further their own interests define the fundamental terms of their association. (1995, 12) Freedom in Rawlsian theory makes sense at that point where man can develop and pursue their own reasonable conception of the good. In this respect, Rawls’ theory of justice traces a distinction between what is rational for individuals and what is reasonable. Reasonable persons in Rawls’ sense “are not moved by the general good as such but desire for its own sake world in which they, as free and equal, can cooperate with others on terms all can accept” (Rawls 1993: 50). Thus his idea of cooperation is based on reciprocity which necessitates the idea of mutual self-interestedness (Rawls, 1958, 170). This is how Rawls identifies the justice; “justice is the virtue of practices where there are assumed to be competing interests and conflicting claims, and where it is supposed that persons will press their rights on each other. That persons are mutually self-interested in certain situations and for certain purposes is what gives rise to the question of justice in practices covering those circumstances” (1958,
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