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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: BONDS AND BOUNDARIES:
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON JUSTICE AND CULTURE


Soshikan conference room, Ritsumeikan University (Kinugasa campus),
Kyoto, March 18, 19 & 20, 2010


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Purpose of the conference:

It is generally accepted that both cultures and justice create or constitute social bonds, boundaries, and determine limits. However exclusion is usually associated with cultures only. The simple multiplicity of cultures entails separation and suggests conflicts. Justice, on the contrary, is deemed universal. That is why it is often argued that it can provide a common ground that bridges the gap separating cultures. Given that universality supposes uniqueness, a central concern has long been whether justice can prevail without negating the particularity of different cultures. However, this way of understanding the issue, opposing the particularity of culture to the universality of justice, overlooks one important fact. The universality claimed in favour of justice has historically, everywhere and always, been limited, bounded, and restricted to some. Justice may have been the same for all, but "all" has never included everybody. The universality of justice has always been "regional". If culture creates boundaries and entails separation, justice, to the extent that it has existed, has always rested on borders and on practices of exclusion. History has been so stubborn in this that it invites us to question, if not the ideal of universality itself, at least this persistent performative contradiction, suggesting that it is no mere accident. Justice no less than cultures establishes boundaries while simultaneously creating bonds, and the limits and rapports constructed by each interacts with those of the other.

We live in a world of cultural mutation and of displaced borders. Not only are technological innovations and economic globalisation transforming social relations they, along with extensive migration, also transfigure subjects' relations to themselves, to others and to culture, their own and those of others. Questions of identity, gender, and multiculturalism bear witness to these transformations, which disarrange the bonds and boundaries of justice simultaneously. The goal of this conference, Bonds and Boundaries: New Perspectives on Justice and Culture, is to enquire into the evolving relations between justice and culture in terms of both the creation of social bonds and the erection of boundaries. It is to try to understand how, in today's globalised world, the bonds and boundaries of cultures and justice are changing and interacting.

The conference will take place over three days. It comprises 20 participants, 10 speakers and 10 commentators. Each speaker's contribution, which will last about 45 to 50 minutes, will be followed by a 10 to 15 minute response by a commentator and a 30 minute discussion open to all participants. We wish to encourage discussion both among participants and with the audience and think that a successful conference is one which initiates an ongoing dynamic of discussion. Though the language of the conference is English, questions can be formulated in Japanese. Attendance is free of charge, but as the number of places is limited, those who wish to attend are encouraged to register to ensure they will be able to enter.

Organisers:

Paul Dumouchel & Reiko Gotoh
dumouchp@ce.rtisumei.ac.jp

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Reiko Gotoh and Paul Dumouchel are professors at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences ( http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/acd/gr/gsce/index-e.htm ) Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan and co-editors of Against Injustice The New Economics of Amartya Sen (Cambridge 2009). Reiko Gotoh is co-author with Amartya Sen of Well-Being and Justice (Tokyo 2008).

The conference is funded by the Grant-in-Aid (B) (No:19330120) Multiculturalism and Social Justice. It is co-organized with the help of the Global COE Ars Vivendi, and sponsored by the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences. Organizers gratefully acknowledge help from the International Research Promotion Program Fund of Ritsumeikan University.

(Responsibility for Wording: Paul Dumouchel)

*Poster of the conference [PDF]

*Research Project On Multiculturalism And Social Justice

*The brief report of this conference is posted on Headline News of Ritsumeikan University.


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