Postgraduate Modules: POL6011 - Global Justice

Module Code

POL 6011

Module Title

Global Justice


Level 4


Semester 1


30 credits

Taught by:

Dr. Garrett Wallace Brown

Module Description:

Debates surrounding issues of global justice have recently moved to the centre of both political theory and political practice. The numerous topics and concerns that fall under the rubric of global justice (e.g. human rights, just war theory, global distributive justice, abject poverty, global health, environmental justice, etc.) are therefore becoming of increasing interest to students and practitioners alike. This core module aims to explore key debates about the scope of justice, the validity of thinking about justice at the global level, and the application of global justice arguments to key problems threatening global cohabitation. The course is divided into two parts. Part One examines various conceptions of social justice; the scope and limitations of justice in a globalized world; relational and non-relational forms of justice; and, justice and its demands for a broadened cosmopolitics. Based on these theoretical foundations, Part Two of the course applies theories about global justice to key concerns regarding global cohabitation such as climate change, poverty, global health, and humanitarian intervention.

Module Aims:

The module aims to provide an advanced level of understanding of the debates surrounding global justice.
By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the global justice debate, a contextual understanding of key philosophical and practical issues within these debates as well as demonstrate knowledge of the historical, legal and moral development of global justice and its critics.
  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, including the ability to evaluate advanced concepts, arguments and theories, to employ both primary and secondary sources, to present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form, to make individual and group presentations (if requested), to pursue independent learning and to show critical judgement.

This module also equips students with a range of skills, including cognitive and communicative ones. Students will evaluate advanced concepts and theories, employ primary and secondary sources, present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form, pursue independent learning and gain the skills to show critical judgement. Varied learning and teaching methods will thus equip students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital in terms of employability, including working independently as well as part of a team, managing a varied workload,assimilating and synthesising multiple theoretical ideas, constructing coherent, independent and critical arguments.

Module Schedule:

1 Introduction: Global Justice
2 Foundations of Social Justice: Rawls and A Theory of Justice
3 Globalization and the Broadening of Justice
4 Something Less than Global Justice: Rawls and a minimal Laws of Peoples
5 The Limits of Global Justice: The Worth of Nations, States and Cultures
6 Justice Beyond Borders: Cosmopolitan Responses to their Critics
7 Cosmopolitics: Institutionalized Injustice and Reforming Global Politics
8 Global Justice and Climate Change
9 Global Justice and Poverty
10 Global Justice and Global Health
11 Global Justice and Humanitarian Intervention
12 Rethinking the Scope of Justice

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour lectures


  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 60% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed module handbook
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2 (including numerous podcasts)
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.
  • Opportunity to attend seminars held by the interdisciplinary Global Justice Research Centre

Indicative Reading:

Bell, D. (ed.), Ethics and World Politics (OUP, 2010)

Brown, G.W. and Held, D, (eds.), The Cosmopolitanism Reader (Polity, 2010)

Held, D. Debating Globalization (Polity 2005)

Hutchings, K. Global Ethics (Polity Press, 2010)

Pogge, T. (ed.), Global Justice (Blackwell, 2004).

Van Hooft, S. Cosmopolitanism: A Philosophy for Global Ethics (Acumen, 2010)

What our Students Say:

‘The seminar, two supervisors and classmates brought me a lot new knowledge and great ideas!’

‘Overall quality of the module is good’