“pervasive” versus “temporary” feasibility. I then turn to the main features that a test for pervasive feasibility will display, and I discuss the types of reasons that can be plausibly presented to justify a charge of unfeasibility. Finally, I turn to a detailed discussion of four key feasibility requirements of a liberal democratic theory of distributive justice.
II. The concept of feasibility
A problem for non-ideal theory
In recent years, a growingly body of literature has stressed the importance of feasibility constraints in normativetheory. Central to this
To understand how subjects are constructed socially and historically in terms of power, and how they act through power on others and on themselves, but not to see this as a purely random process or activity where ‘anything goes’, or conversely, portray ethical actions in terms of fixed universal rules or specified teleological ends, constitutes the objective of this book. What a normative Foucault can offer us, I claim, is a critical ethics of the present that is well and truly beyond Kant, Hegel. and Marx, and which can guide action and conduct for the twenty-first century.
highly structured, impersonal, multitudinous and multisystem world, where each
of us engages in hundreds or thousands of interactions with others – mostly unseen and unsuspected others – every day; and where each of us is socialised into
networks of rules and roles and codes structuring our behaviour and our expectations, most of which we do not even notice.
Two arguments of general significance to international normativetheory were
offered: first, democratic political authority is not dependent on the form of political organisation, and so in principle a number of
theory lacks in what the German language calls Erklärungskraft. Luhmann’s theory is consistent and methodologically grounded, but despite all evidence to the contrary and taking into
consideration its academic success, it is also too narrow to include the social
and the political, which incorporate other properties than the formalistic generation of actions, for which Luhmann fervently argued. The main argument
of this chapter holds that instead of the formalism of systems theory, social
enlightenment and political rationality are the outcomes of normativetheory
interestingly sourced part of his own
knowledge of contemporary colour theory from a student of Ingres, the
painter and ceramicist Jean-Claude Ziegler.2 His assessment of colour and
drawing is rather complex, and at times contradictory. Blanc’s Grammaire
constituted one of the last attempts to provide a universal normativetheory
of the visual arts, which included considerations not only of architecture,
sculpture and painting but also of areas like printing, metal carving and even
landscape gardening. As is clear already from the book’s title (it translates
as ‘Grammar of
This highly original book constitutes one of the first attempts to examine the problem of distributive justice in the EU in a systematic manner. The author starts by arguing that the set of shared political institutions at EU level, including the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the EU, generate democratic duties of redistribution amongst EU citizens. Furthermore, he claims that the economic structure of the EU, comprising a common market, a common currency, and a free-movement area, triggers duties of reciprocity amongst member states. He contends that the responsibilities to fulfil these duties should be shared by three levels of government – local, national, and supranational. More specifically, he argues that the EU should act as a safety net to the national welfare systems, applying the principle of subsidiarity. In turn, the common market and the Eurozone should balance efficiency targets with distributive concerns. Concrete policy proposals presented in this book include a threshold of basic goods for all EU citizens, an EU Labour Code, a minimum EU corporate tax rate, and an EU Fund for Global Competitiveness. These proposals are thoroughly examined from the standpoint of feasibility. The author argues that his proposals fit in the political culture of the member states, are economically feasible, can be translated into functioning institutions and policies, and are consistent with the limited degree of social solidarity in Europe. This book is a major contribution to the understanding of how a just Europe would look and what it takes to get us there.
Chapter 1 outlines the various constraints on Obama – the separation of powers/constitutional constraints, the size and scope of the federal government bureaucracy, the ‘opportunity costs’ of presidential actions/initiatives and public opinion. A theory is advanced with three considerations that President Obama had to take into account as he crafted his agenda. Those insights will help to frame the discussion of the rest of the book and help to put the Obama record— and black voter reaction to that record— into context. It introduces a normative theory of race and presidential representation and synthesises the presidential power and ‘deracialisation literatures’ to make the claim that presidents are structurally constrained in their ability to address a host of issues of concern to blacks. As a result, they tend to address issues of race symbolically. Barack Obama, as the first black president and a black politician who rose to power by using deracialisation, or a more race-neutral campaign strategy, will be particularly susceptible to resorting to more symbolic means of racial representation. This theory is then tested by examining both the racially substantive policies that have been implemented by the Obama Administration and by charting key indicators of black well-being relative to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
everyday language. 15
Apart from the absence of consensual definition and
conceptualisation, there is also the added difficulty posed by the
expression ‘normative research/theory’. This difficulty does
not necessarily arise from the definition or meaning of norm and
normative. Normativetheory seems to refer to three distinct types of
intellectual activity, which are not, however, always or entirely
demos’.32 Instead the EU has multiple nation-state demoi, and they can arrive at
a working agreement by way of inter-elite accommodation. This is the view we
might expect to be held by, for example, consociationalists and liberalintergovernmentalists.33
Against this are a number of reasons for thinking the hope of addressing
current issues of EU integration without an overall normativetheory, including
supranational citizenship, to be futile. A position such as that adumbrated above
overestimates both national homogeneity and international
4. Being in the methodological and processual position to facilitate social
and scientific rationality, dialectics contributes both to the formation of a
normativetheory and to the potential for rational praxis.
5. Social and scientific subjects participate in the dialectical process that
occurs in the social lifeworld and the scientific public sphere. Thus, scientific dialectics bears the potential to construct both social critique as well
as political innovation.
Hence, I investigate to what extent conceptions of accountability criteria in