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Geography and Social Justice - Hardcover

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9780631190257: Geography and Social Justice
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In this study of the relationship between geography and human welfare, Smith proceeds first by providing a review of relevant issues in social and moral philosophy, in particular the contrasting claims of different theories of social justice and the nature of rights and needs. He examines John Rawls's proposition that inequality can be justified to the extent that it benefits the worst-off; and he considers how far justice may or should be seen as a process for equalization or of returning to equality, in the face of persistent and widespread inequality. The author then applies theoretical perspectives to case studies. These are based on his own first-hand research, and cover racial injustice in the American South, inequality under socialism and its aftermath in Eastern Europe, and the prospects for social justice in post-apartheid South Africa. Smith examines the plight of those peoples who have no secure place or defined territory, focusing on the conflicting claims of the Palestinians and the Israelis. Finally, he draws together elements of theory and experience to present conclusions on the justice of market-led society, the ends of egalitarianism and the universality of just principles. By both precept and example, the author aims to show the central contribution that geographers can make to the understanding of social justice in a complex and rapidly changing world. Smith examines such relevant questions as: would an equal division of resources in society really be preferable from a moral point of view?; is it even possible to propound universal prescriptions of what is socially just?; or to talk about universal rights in a world in which different kinds of people (according to class, gender, race and religion) are treated so differently in different places?

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From the Back Cover:
Human geography - cultural, economic, political, and social - is inherently concerned with social justice and injustice. Being born in one country, region or one part of a particular city may, for example, be the single most important factor in an individual's health, education, and longevity. It is clear that in every nation, including present and former socialist societies, wealth and privilege are unevenly divided. But would an equal distribution of resources really be preferable from a moral point of view? Is it even possible to propound universal prescriptions of what is socially just, or to talk about universal rights in a world in which different kinds of people (according to class, gender, race and religion) are treated so differently in different places?

Such questions are far from simple. In this book David Smith, one of the world's leading geographical thinkers, throws incisive light upon them. He proceeds first by providing a critical and accessible review of relevant issues in social and moral philosophy, in particular the contrasting claims of different theories of social justice, and the nature of rights and needs. He examines John Rawl's proposition that inequality can be justified to the extent that it benefits the worst off; and he considers how far justice may or should be seen as a process for equalization or returning to equality, in the face of persistent and widespread inequality.

The author then applies these theoretical perspectives to several case studies. These are based on his own first-hand research, and cover racial injustice in the American South, inequality under socialism and its aftermath in eastern Europe, and the prospects for social justice in post-apartheid South Africa. David Smith examines the plight of those peoples who have no secure place or defined territory, focusing on the conflicting claims of the Palestinians and the Israelis. Finally he draws together elements of theory and experience to present trenchantly argued conclusions on the justice of market-led society, the ideals of egalitarianism, and the universality of principles of justice. By both precept and example he shows the central contribution that geographers can make to the understanding of social justice in a complex and rapidly changing world.

About the Author:
David M. Smith is Professor of Geography at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. His books include Industrial Location: An Economic Geographical Analysis (Second Edition, 1981), Human Geography: A Welfare Approach (1975), and Geography, Inequality and Society (1987). He is also co-editor of The Dictionary of Human Geography (Third Edition, 1993).

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  • PublisherBlackwell Pub
  • Publication date1994
  • ISBN 10 0631190252
  • ISBN 13 9780631190257
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages325
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9780631190264: Geography and Social Justice: Social Justice in a Changing World

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Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, 1994
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