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New Left Review I/222, March-April 1997


Iris Marion Young

Unruly Categories: A Critique of Nancy Fraser’s Dual Systems Theory

Have theorists of justice forgotten about political economy? [*] I am grateful to David Alexander, Robin Blackburn, Martin Matustick and Bill Scheuermann for comments on an earlier version of this essay. Have we traced the most important injustices to cultural roots? Is it time for critical social theory to reassert a basic distinction between the material processes of political economy and the symbolic processes of culture? In two recent essays, Nancy Fraser answers these questions in the affirmative. [1] Nancy Fraser, ‘Recognition or Redistribution? A Critical Reading of Iris Young’s Justice and the Politics of Difference’, Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 3, no. 2, (1995), pp. 166-80; ‘From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Post-Socialist’ Age’, nlr 212, pp. 68-93. She claims that some recent political theory and practice privilege the recognition of social groups, and that they tend to ignore the distribution of goods and the division of labour.

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