Democracy and Participation

  • Lynelle WattsEmail author
  • David Hodgson


What is the relation of democracy and participation to social justice? While the distributive theory offers an account of social justice at the level of abstracted principle, others focus their attention on specific conditions and practices that allow social injustice to emerge as a condition of social arrangements. Work by the philosopher Iris Marion Young offers a critical account of social justice, particularly in relation to concepts such as difference and oppression, and how these are implicated in social injustices such as exclusion, marginalisation and silencing. There are a number of key aspects related to issues of democracy and participation that could support social work efforts at empowerment, self-determination and inclusion. These are the nation-state and civil society, constitutionalism, freedom and liberty and the options for dealing with diversity within societies.


  1. Bowden, B. (2006). Civil society, the state, and the limits to global civil society. Global Society, 20(2), 155–178. Scholar
  2. Broughton, B., & Durnan, D. (1993). Australians for reconciliation: Study circle kit. Canberra: Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (Australia).Google Scholar
  3. Carlson, J., Nguyen, H., & Reinardy, J. (2013). Social justice and the capabilities approach: Seeking a global blueprint for the EPAS. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(3), 269–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chung, D. (2018). Social work in the domestic violence sector. In M. Alston, S. McCurdy, & J. McKinnon (Eds.), Social work fields of practice (pp. 210–224). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, J. (2005). Welfare states as nation states: Some conceptual reflections. Social Policy and Society, 4(4), 407–415. Scholar
  6. Farris, C. J., & Dancy, G. (2017). Measuring the impact of human rights: Conceptual and methodological debates. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13, 273–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferguson, I., & Woodward, R. (2009). Radical social work in practice: Making a difference. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harrison, K., & Boyd, T. (2013). Understanding political ideas and movements. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Heywood, A. (2000). Key concepts in politics. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Hodgkinson, V., & Foley, M. W. (2009). Preface. In V. Hodgkinson & M. W. Foley (Eds.), Civil society reader. Hanover, US: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Howard, J., Serra, L., Mateeva, A., Taylor, M., Petrov, R., & Miller, C. (2009). Toward a typology of civil society: Understanding non-government public action. In Civil society in comparative perspective (Vol. 26, pp. 71–103). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  12. Kesby, A. (2012). The right to have rights: Citizenship, humanity, and international law. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kymlicka, W. (1995). Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights. New York, US: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kymlicka, W. (2009). Categorizing groups, categorizing states: Theorizing minority rights in a world of deep diversity. Ethics & International Affairs, 23(4), 371–388. Scholar
  15. Laden, A. S. (2001). Reasonably radical: Deliberative liberalism and the politics of identity. New York, US: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Laden, A. S., & Owen, D. (2007). Introduction. In A. S. Laden & D. Owen (Eds.), Multiculturalism and political theory (pp. 1–22). New York, US: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. McDonald, C. (2006). Challenging social work: The institutional context of practice. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mullaly, R. P. (2007). The new structural social work (3rd ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Napoleon, V., & Friedland, H. (2014). Accessing Tully: Political philosophy for the everyday and the everyone. In R. Nichols & J. Singh (Eds.), Freedom and democracy in an imperial context: Dialogues with James Tully (pp. 175–202). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Nichols, R., & Singh, J. (2014). Editor’s introduction. In R. Nichols & J. Singh (Eds.), Freedom and democracy in an imperial context: Dialogues with James Tully (pp. 1–12). New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nussbaum, M. C. (2011). Creating capabilities: The human development approach. Cumberland, US: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. O’Manique, C., & Fourie, P. (2016). Affirming our world: Gender, justice, social reproduction and the sustainable development goals. Development., 59(1–2), 121–126. Scholar
  23. Parsell, C., Eggins, E., & Marston, G. (2017). Human agency and social work research: A systematic search and synthesis of social work literature. The British Journal of Social Work, 47(1), 238–255. Scholar
  24. Pettit, P. (1997). Republicanism: A theory of freedom and government. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Pettit, P. (2001). Symposium on Amartya Sen’s philosophy: Capability and freedom: A defence of Sen. Economics and Philosophy, 17(1), 1–20. Scholar
  26. Sayer, A. (2011). Why things matter to people: Social science, values and ethical life. The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sen, A. (2011). Peace and democratic society. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sen, A. (2015). The idea of justice. Retrieved June 17, 2018, from
  29. Skinner, Q. (1998). Liberty before liberalism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Skinner, Q. (2012). So, what does freedom mean to us? Retrieved June 6, 2018, from
  31. Skinner, Q. (2016). A genealogy of liberty: A lecture by Quentin Skinner. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from
  32. Taylor, C. (1992). Multiculturalism and the politics of recognition. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. The Guardian. (2017). The Guardian view on white nationalism: A rising danger. The Guardian. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from
  34. Tully, J. (1995). Strange multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an age of diversity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tully, J. (2000). Struggles over recognition and distribution. Constellations, 7(4), 469–482. Scholar
  36. Tully, J. (2002). The unfreedom of the moderns in comparison to their ideals of constitutional democracy. Modern Law Review, 65(2), 204–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tully, J. (2008a). Modern constitutional democracy and imperialism. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 46(3), 461–493.Google Scholar
  38. Tully, J. (2008b). Public philosophy in a new key (Vol. 1). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tully, J. (2012). Charles Taylor on deep diversity: James Tully. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from
  40. Tully, J. (2013). Two ways of realizing justice and democracy: Linking Amartya Sen and Elinor Ostrom. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 16(2), 220–232. Scholar
  41. Wilson, M. (2012). Globalization. In L. M. Healy & R. J. Link (Eds.), Handbook of international social work (pp. 16–23). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Young, I. M. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Young, I. M. (2000). Inclusion and democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Young, I. M. (2007). Structural injustice and the politics of difference. In A. S. Laden & D. Owen (Eds.), Multiculturalism and political theory (pp. 60–89). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityBunburyAustralia

Personalised recommendations