J for Justice




equality-justice John Rawls

Theoretician on the issue of Justice, an American philosopher and decisive personality in moral and political philosophy. Rawls was awarded with the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999- his work “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself”. ( The National Medal Of The Arts And The National Humanities Medal”. Clinton4.nara.gov. 1999-09-29. Retrieved 2010-02-26.)

Rawls’ Theory of Justice was “the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II” according to David Gordon (Going Off the Rawls, The American Conservative).

“In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice (the socially just distribution of goods in a society) by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social contract. The resultant theory is known as “Justice as Fairness“, from which Rawls derives his two principles of justice: the liberty principle and the difference principle. “ (Wikipedia, The Theory of Justice )

 Rawls’ Principles of Justice

The concept promotes equal opportunities for every social group to participate in the planning process. Participation as a process is stronger and productive when it operates under the umbrella of certain principles and within a community-oriented context. Justice, expressed here as equal representation in the participatory planning process stands as one of the basics that protects the process of increasing “tension and conflict over public policy decisions” (Parker, B., 2002) . It involves the offer of just chances to community members to take part in planning projects. Everybody’s voice should have power- the concept “is means to ensure that citizens have a direct voice in public decisions” (Parker, B., 2002).

As Parker (2002) notes, “planning models such as the Interactive Planning […], incorporate public input in all phases of the planning process”, with greater possibilities to reach a satisfying outcome from high-quality participation processes.

For further reading refer to: The Theory of Citizen Participation.

Ministry of Justice representative. Istanbul.

Focus on the selection of participants, so that the context is deeply inclusive 

“[…] data collected at the participatory budgeting forums in Porto Alegre, in 2002, reveal that the participatory assemblies (see: participatory budgeting)  tend to concentrate a higher proportion of :

(i) women

(ii) elders and retired workers

(iii) married people

(iv) non-qualified workers

(v) people with lower average income […]”

Download article

Goncalves, S. (2014). The effects of Participatory Budgeting on Municipal Expenditures and Infant Mortality in Brazil. World Development, 53, 94-110.



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