Fairness as Social Justice: The Gendered Lens of Citizenship

Research output: Chapter


This chapter narrows focus on the interpolation of fairness into citizenship in three dimensions -- all of which proceed from a feminist politics of substantive equality. First, the note locates an understanding of fairness in traditional social democratic espousals of social justice. Second, more specifically, this understanding runs in tandem with feminist critiques of the impact of neo-liberal governance and the gendered consequences of the neo-liberal variant of the "individualization" of the ideal citizen. In contrast, the idea of the social citizen postulates a citizenship more responsive and celebratory of difference and social situatedness, recognizing "the complex and unavoidable inter-dependencies that dominate contemporary human inexperience." So, this chapter is concerned with the idea of social citizenship, both in counterpart to the citizenship norms of the neo-liberal polity and as a mechanism for reinvigorating social justice outcomes -- ones that emphasize equity, democracy, diversity and redistribution for women.

The commentary also touches briefly on the relevance of the spatial arrangement of our cities to fairness of urban citizenship, a localized set of social relations and practices key to most Canadian's daily experiences of citizenship. The chapter argues that a positively radicalized citizenship for women -- and other marginalized groups -- must necessarily engage with the spacialization of politics and inequality in our built environments. This conversation takes on and recasts ideas about public and private -- both politically and socially, but also geographically. It also offers an angle on citizenship that understands many of the goods and rights envisioned by social citizenship to rest on commitments to a social equity landscape, to a fair country -- both in terms of the political and the physical. The length of the chapter forestalls an intricate unpacking of these claims. Instead, the author aims to be reflective of some existing feminist consideration of both fairness and citizenship in a provocative and progressively evocative manner.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn Exploration of Fairness
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Inquires in Law, Science and the Humanities
EditorsJanis Sarra
Place of PublicationToronto
ISBN (Print)9780779853632
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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