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    An exploration of different theories of justice from ancient to contemporary times. Examples may include justice as a social contract, justice as impartiality, distributive justice, reconciliation and restorative justice, and retributive justice.

    This paper explores different theories of justice in contemporary political thought. All societies need rules. But what constitutes a just law and why? What might be a fair distribution of society's resources? Do we need to accommodate and affirm gender and cultural differences in our public policies and laws or should justice be blind to such differences? And how should we punish those who transgress our laws? The topics we examine in exploring these questions include rights, distributive justice, equality and multiculturalism, the politics of community, representation and difference, retributive justice and revenge, forgiveness and reconciliation.

    About this paper

    Paper title Theories of Justice
    Subject Politics
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    One 100-level POLS paper or PHIL 103 or 72 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
    Teaching staff

    To be confirmed


    The readings will be available on eReserve via Blackboard.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • possess an in-depth understanding of the key debates and concepts in contemporary Anglo-American political theory on issues of social justice and theories of punishment and
    • have skills in critical analysis, argumentation, research and writing.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 29-35, 37-42
    Tuesday 12:00-12:50 29-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 30-35, 37-40
    A2 Tuesday 16:00-16:50 30-35, 37-40
    A3 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 30-35, 37-40
    A4 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 30-35, 37-40
    A5 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 30-35, 37-40
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