In the introductory chapter I make two main claims: firstly, I argue that the contemporary debate on justice focuses exclusively on matters of justice pertinent to nearly just societies; in the second place, I suggest that radically unjust societies generate problems of justice that cannot be solved by the naive application of current theories of justice. It follows that these problems of justice for unjust societies demand to be discussed in their own right. In such a discussion the wealth of insight contained in the contemporary debate on justice should be put to use if after critical examination, it is found to be relevant.
In what follows, just such an attempt will be made to extend the scope of the contemporary debate on justice by developing a theory of justice for a radically unjust society. The chapters seek to remedy the several deficiencies of the contemporary debate on justice. They will be presented in roughly the order of this chapter.
Thus, in Chapter Two suggestions will be made on how to identify injustice so that people can learn to see their experiences of suffering, degradation, humiliation, and oppression in terms of justice and injustice.
In Chapter Three a standpoint will be developed on the relation between universal and particular elements in a theory of justice.
Chapter Four serves two functions that are intertwined and cannot be easily separated. It functions first as a guide for making the second transition involved in the identification of injustice: to articulate theoretically the experiences of injustice. The second function is to provide a method for the design, construction, and justification of a theory of justice for a specific society.
In Chapter Five the relation between considerations of justice and forms of political action for the transformation of injustice into justice will be explored.
Chapter Six then investigates the possible role that cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious pluralism has to play in theorizing about justice, and it asks how justice can be secured for every person in such a society. In the concluding section of Chapter Six the need for an ongoing dialogue between members of a political community is emphasized as the best way for settling disputes on matters of justice.