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Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness (review)

Harvard Human Rights Journal. May 2001 23(2): 467-470

Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness (review)

Howard RE.

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Rhoda E. Howard – Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness (review) – Human Rights Quarterly 23:2 Human Rights Quarterly 23.2 (2001) 467-470 Book Review Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness, by Joseph H. Carens (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) ix + 284 pp, bibliography, index. This is a very learned book of political philosophy, in which Joseph Carens, a Canadian scholar originally from the United States, argues through cases for demands of “complex justice” in liberal democratic societies. It should be read along with, and sometimes as arguments against, two other influential Canadian philosophers, Will Kymlicka and Charles Taylor. It should also be read in the context of larger discussions of the nature of community and social membership such as have been addressed by Michael Walzer. Carens’ major argument is for justice as “evenhandedness,” that he illustrates through use of very familiar examples such as the debates about whether Muslim schoolgirls in France should be permitted to wear veils, about whether female genital mutilations should be permitted in Western societies in the name of cultural relativism, and about who should be permitted citizenship in Germany. He also draws on important Canadian debates about the “distinct” nature of society in…

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