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From Historical to Enduring Injustice

Jeff Spinner-Halev
Political Theory
Vol. 35, No. 5 (Oct., 2007), pp. 574-597
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20452585
Page Count: 24
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From Historical to Enduring Injustice
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Abstract

Advocates of remedying historical injustices urge political communities to take responsibility for their past, but their arguments are ambiguous about whether all past injustices need remedy, or just those regarding groups that suffer from current injustice. This ambiguity leaves unanswered the challenge of critics who argue that contemporary injustices matter, not those in the past. I argue instead for a focus on injustices that have roots in the past, and continue to the present day, what I call enduring injustice. Instead of focusing on finding the party responsible for the injustice, I argue that we use history to help us understand why some injustices endure, which I suggest is partly due to the limitations of liberal justice. I conclude with a conception of responsibility for repairing enduring injustice that deemphasizes searching for the causal agent, and instead focuses on how to repair the injustice, which I explain through an expansive conception of shared space.

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