Resisting 'Global Justice': Disrupting the colonial 'emancipatory' logic of the west

Andrew Robinson, Simon Tormey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper takes issue with global justice theory, seeing it as a 'global-local' in which the perspectives and demands of post-Kantian Western liberalism silence ways of being in the world that move beyond a narrowly circumscribed definition of 'reasonableness'. Taking its cue from critics of dominant liberal conceptions of the self, such as Spivak, Deleuze and Freire, the paper examines the impact of epistemological diversity and the radical 'otherness' of indigenous, peasant and marginal epistemologies on how Western intellectuals might think about global justice. We look at a number of examples of indigenous and marginal resistance to injustice in the global system, including the West Papuan and Zapatista movements, and conclude that the goals of such movements cannot be encapsulated in distributive or juridical terms. An alternative theorisation of global justice might, contra global justice theory, insist on a dialogical, contingent basis for discussing justice, whether local or global.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1409
Number of pages15
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009

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