Conceptualising global justice

GLOBUS researchers gathered in Oslo on 19 and 20 January 2017 to discuss how to make sense of the EU’s contribution – if any – to a rightful world order.

GLOBUS workshop participants

Globus coordinator Helene Sjursen invited political theorists and international relations scholars to discuss the GLOBUS conceptual scheme. (All photos: ARENA) 


  • GLOBUS is a research project that critically examines the EU's contribution to global justice
  • Coordinated by ARENA's Helene Sjursen
  • Eight partner universities across the globe
  • Funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme
  • Project period: 2016–2020
  • GLOBUS website

The workshop connected the study of the European Union with the broader theoretical debate on global justice. Globus coordinator Helene Sjursen invited political theorists and international relations scholars to present and discuss papers relating to the GLOBUS conceptual scheme. The scheme delineates three conceptions of global justice: justice as non-domination, as impartiality and as mutual recognition.

How should one understand GLOBUS’ three conceptions of global justice, and to what extent do they adequately capture the normative and practical dilemmas that arise beyond state borders? These were the main questions addressed by the participants in this two-day workshop in Oslo. The participants paid particular attention to the European Union: How can the three conceptions of global justice be specified and developed as analytical tools to study the EU’s global role?

Erik O. Eriksen
Erik O. Eriksen presented three conceptions of global justice.

Three conceptions of global justice

Kicking off the workshop, Erik O. Eriksen (ARENA) presented his paper ‘Three conceptions of global political justice’, which outlines justice as non-domination, impartiality, and mutual recognition. This paper served as a focal point for the following presentations and discussions. Alexa Zellentin (University College Dublin) subsequently picked up the three conceptions as they relate to climate justice. A central concern addressed was how to link academic debates on climate justice to the real normative concerns that occur in climate negotiations and when formulating policy. After the coffee break, Pundy Pillay (Wits University) commented on global justice from a southern African perspective by presenting his paper ‘trade, development and social justice in Africa’. In the same session, Chris Lord (ARENA) elaborated on the issue of historical responsibility by asking the question: When are nations responsible for things they have done in the past?

Justice and foreign policy

GLOBUS coordinator Helene Sjursen (ARENA) launched the afternoon session with a presentation of justice and foreign policy as it pertains to the EU. In her paper, she connects normative political theory with international relations through a discussion of the EU’s perspective on global governance structures. Moving to the issue of migration, Sonia Lucarelli and Michela Ceccorulli (University of Bologna) presented an analysis of European definitions of migration and their implications for global justice. Finally, Kjartan Koch Mikalsen provided a philosopher’s perspective defending a pure functionalist theory of territorial jurisdiction. The right to jurisdiction is a fundamental trait of the international system, and Mikalsen argues that it should be justified not by historical attachments but by the state’s performance of essential moral functions here and now.

Day two picked up with a paper on burden sharing and the refugee crisis, by Princeton researcher Barbara Buckinx, who among other things reminded us that the burden for hosting refugees in today’s global system falls squarely on the shoulders of developing countries. Silje Langvatn from the University of Oslo provided yet another philosophical take in her paper on Rawls’ late political liberalism and its relevance for global justice. Lars Blichner (University of Bergen) gave the last presentation of the morning session, where he elaborated the concept of justice as mutual recognition and its relation to law.

Nikola Tomic
Nikola Tomic (picture) and Ben Tonra presented a comparative analysis of the EU's security strategies. 

Security and diplomacy

In the afternoon session, Nikola Tomic and Ben Tonra (University College Dublin) presented a comparative analysis of the EU’s security strategies. Later, Mai’a Cross (ARENA) elaborated on how the EU has ramped up its climate diplomacy efforts. Finally, Thomas Diez (University of Tübingen) presented the paper ‘Two dimensions of global justice claims’ emphasizing the need to take in both states and individuals as referent objects of justice.

The GLOBUS coordinators were happy to have the opportunity to discuss the first drafts of the research emanating from the GLOBUS project. We wish to thank all the participants and discussants who also included Espen D. H. Olsen and John Erik Fossum (ARENA). 

Read more

About the GLOBUS project

Download programme (pdf)

Published Mar. 24, 2017 2:15 PM - Last modified Mar. 24, 2017 2:28 PM