About the Unit for Global Justice

The Unit for Global Justice provides a space for thinking about key challenges we face, both locally and globally, and the responses to these challenges.

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The Unit has four key research strands: 

Global Frameworks and Institutions

Since the 1990s we have seen a proliferation of global institutions and frameworks. The Unit has been particularly interested in the role and impact of the international human rights system, responses to violence and armed conflict and post-war/post-atrocity justice. 

 The questions we seek to address include:

  • What are the links between the local, the national and the international and how are those links valuable for pursuing global justice?
  • How do global norms interact with or conflict with local norms and practices?
  • What role do global frameworks and institutions play in specific sites and contexts?
  • How do frameworks like human rights, transitional justice, international law provide spaces and opportunities for challenging injustice? How do they contribute to reproducing (or creating new) forms of exclusion, inequality, marginalisation?
  • How are these frameworks interpreted, resisted or vernacularized in the local contexts in which they are applied?
  • How do we study the processes and institutions through which actors at different scales and in different locations are working to make global institutions more representative, democratic and accountable?

Global Knowledge Struggles

An important aspect of global justice is epistemic justice: namely recognising and redressing the ways in which some forms of knowledge (and those who produce it) have been excluded, ignored or under-valued.  Given the current state of the world, this becomes an urgent task not only for ethical reasons but also for the potential to offer new responses to the challenges we face (environmental, political, economic).

The questions we seek to address include: 

  • Who is assumed to produce knowledge, where and how?
  • Which theories count as such? And how do these theories come to dominate our ways of understanding the world?
  • What are some of the ways we might challenge dominant knowledge practices and create spaces and processes for alternatives?

Global Processes, Movements & Flows

Alongside the establishment of international institutions and norms, our world has become more global through the ever-greater flows of people, goods, ideas, capital. At the same time many of the contemporary challenges we face have also highlighted our interconnectedness. The Unit for Global Justice engages with a wide range of issues in this area including migration, transnational crime and social movements.

The questions we seek to address include:

  • How do global frameworks of justice create connections and disconnections across borders?
  • What is the relationship between global frameworks of justice and neo-liberalisation?
  • How are global flows of people, things and ideas encouraged, regulated and criminalised?
  •  How might global flows open up new kinds of solidarities, or novel modes of conceptualising and enacting justice?

Culture and Publics

It is widely agreed that getting global justice on the agenda of international institutions and social policy requires a significant shift in priorities.  This could not be more true today with the rise of national-populism around the world.  Mapping and understanding uses of cultural forms and aesthetics aimed at changing subjectivities and challenging exclusionary rhetorics and social and political practices is imperative for global social justice. 

The questions we seek to address include:

  • How are particular aesthetic and cultural forms employed in strategies aimed at realising global justice?
  • How can we think about the relationship between aesthetics, violence and politics?
  • How do we study forms of art, music, cinema, literature organised around frameworks of global justice in different transnational, national, local and transnational publics?