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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

This module will examine the main theories of distributive or social justice in contemporary political theory. Issues of distributive justice are at the forefront of political debates, especially since the onset of the financial crisis that affects many developed countries. In this context, the question of a fair allocation and distribution of costs and benefits in a society is a very important one and is the one that this module will address. It will thus introduce students to the main approaches to this issue, from the liberal egalitarianism of John Rawls to (left and right) libertarianism, luck egalitarianism and contemporary analytical Marxism and socialist approaches. It will essentially ask whether the welfare state is justified and how extensive it should be, whether an unconditional basic income should be guaranteed and what level of inequality and/or poverty is acceptable in a just society. The module is being created as an addition to the elective choice for students in semesters 7 and 8 on BA Politics and International Relations and offerred on AHSS programmes where Politics is an option.


The module will consist of the following topics: •Justice, rights, and morality •Rawls 1 (the contract method) •Rawls 2 (the difference principle and implementation) •Libertarianism •Left libertarianism •Egalitarianism ( the egalitarian idea & egalitarian critique of Rawls) •Luck egalitarianism •The currency of justice •The pattern of (egalitarian) distribution •Critiques of luck egalitarianism/distributive justice •Replies to critics

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On completion of the module, students should be able to: •Describe some of the major theories of distributive/social justice. •Critically evaluate, through the close reading of texts, key contributions to recent political thought. •Apply the methods of normative reasoning and conceptual analysis to contemporary political debates. •Present logical arguments about abstract ideas in both verbal and written forms.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On completion of this module, students should be able to: •Assess the relevance of political theory to questions of political practice •Demonstrate an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to questions of social justice and the complexity of such issues

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)


How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module will be taught through a combination of teacher-led and group led assessment that will lead to a wide set of learning outcomes. These will look at the study of distributive justice in a variety of contexts (graduate attribute: knowledgable). The tutorials will offer group discussions about specific readings (graduate attribute: articulate). Students work independently (graduate attribute: proactive,creative). Students will participate in class discussions (graduate attribute: articulate, cooperative).

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Brighouse, Harry (2004) Justice , Polity
Swift, Adam (2001) Political Philosophy: A Beginner's guide for Students and Politicians , Polity Press
White, Stuart (2007) Equality , Polity

Other Relevant Texts:

Clayton, Matthew & Andrew Williams (eds.) (2004) Social Justice , Blackwell Publishing
Goodin, Robert & Philip Pettit (2006) Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology, 2nd ed. , Blackwell Publishing

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

BAPPADUFA - Politics and Public Administration
BAPIREUFA - Politics and International Relations
BAHPSSUFA - History, Politics, Sociology and Social Studies
BAJOHOUFA - Joint Honours
BAAPLAUFA - Applied Languages
BAEUSTUFA - European Studies

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: