The Equalization of Effective Communicative Freedom: Democratic Justice in the Constitutional State and Beyond

Shane O'Neill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Jurgen Habermas takes the realization of rights through the democratic self-organization of legal communities to be the normative core of emancipatory politics. In this article I explore the implications of this claim in relation to the requirements of justice. I argue that Habermas's discourse theory of democratic legitimacy presupposes a substantive principle of justice that demands the equalization of effective communicative freedom for all structurally constituted social groups in any constitutional state. This involves the elimination of a range of structural injustices rooted in the complex interrelationships between political, economic and cultural orders. In the final section I sketch briefly the implications of this analysis in the context of ongoing globalization processes. It is suggested that the most effective way to establish a just system of global governance is to equalize effective communicative freedom among nation-states.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-99
    Number of pages17
    JournalCanadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence
    Volume17 (1)
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


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