Environmental struggles in North and South: Plurality and politics of justice

UEA’s Global Environmental Justice Group and Lancaster Environment Centre will jointly organize a conference on the plurality and politics of environmental justice on 26-27 June 2015 in Norwich, UK. The idea motivating this conference is a simple one: Many of us want our work to serve social justice. In our papers, we commonly invoke the hope that the insights will contribute to the development of just futures. However, we also understand that it is often not clear what justice actually means in a particular context. Moreover, when we listen to people, we realize that justice tends to mean different things to different people. Some notions of justice become influential, whereas others get lost.

This conference will examine the plurality and politics of justice. By plurality, we refer to the multiple meanings of justice in specific contexts. These connotations may differ across the three dimensions of justice – distribution, participation and recognition. They may also vary with regard to the social actors considered to be subjects of justice (e.g. individuals, social groups, generations) and the political-legal institutions expected to realize justice (e.g. nation state, customary leaders, transnational courts). Yet if notions of justice are plural, the question arises about which notions – and whose notions – find traction in public discourse, and how some social actors are able to promote certain notions, whereas other actors and notions are not heard. Some justice conceptions may even get hegemonic in dominant discourses of national development or environmental management or institutionalized in governance arrangements and assemblages, thereby marginalizing others.

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