The increasing salience of cultural conflicts in the post-Cold War era brings the problem of peripheral justice, defined as the equal attainment of social justice, to the center of current debates on globalization. Specifically, they force us to directly confront the toughest challenge posed by the Weberian tradition: If the principles of justice and equality are beyond the peculiarity of the Occidental civilization, how then may we give a full explanation as to why in the West-and only in the West-the ideal of public reasoning by private people has been materialized? The present study seeks to address this fundamental challenge by drawing on the Marxist tradition of public hegemony developed by Confucian Marxists and Gramsci. I argue that at the core of the problem of peripheral justice is an intrinsic linkage between Eurocentricism and the liberal paradigm of "civil society." The prospect of equal justice, therefore, hinges on the development of a new conception of the "social" that reverses the liberal interpretation of the relationship between bourgeois subjectivity and the "social" and derives from the primacy of the ethical life for social formation.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Weigang Chen specializes in East Asian religions and cultures. His area of research focuses on religion and social transformation in modern China, especially the role of religion in the Chinese Marxist-led mass revolution. His other research interests include social theory and cultural analysis, particularly the cultural dimensions of the structural division between the capitalist core and the Third World. He completed an M.A. degree in philosophy at Peking University in Beijing and a Ph.D. degree in comparative religion at Harvard University. He joined the University of Vermont family in 1999.


Confucian, cultural conflict, empire, globalization, justice, Marxism, Max Weber, Occidental civilization, post-Cold War era

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