Republicanism beyond borders? Preventing domination in the absence of the state.

by John Pearson

Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom)
Year: 2009
Record ID: 1407418
Full text PDF: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/2195/


The aim of this thesis is to investigate the relevance of republican political theory to the current debates surrounding issues of global justice and democracy. I argue that a republican concern with domination contributes to these debates by making a clearer link between political participation and individuals' capacity to protect their interests. The thesis synthesises two major approaches in political theory that draw on the republican tradition in political thought. It argues that Philip Pettit's republicanism provides an appropriate link between participation and the prevention of domination. The thesis uses several rival approaches to the problem of global justice (drawn from Dryzek, Nagel, Held and Cohen and Sabel) to demonstrate that the uneven distribution of state capacities at the global level puts people at risk of domination. However, the rival approaches do not go far enough in explaining the role of democracy and political participation in preventing domination. The thesis develops a more robust theory of domination based on an account of basic interests. It argues that participation is valuable because it is the most effective way to ensure people can protect their basic interests. However, participation itself should be designed so it does not impose excessive costs on individuals. Throughout the thesis, the arguments are illustrated by reference to contemporary problems with developing and implementing international labour standards. In the concluding chapters, the theoretical discussion of domination is applied to develop practical suggestions that a major institution - the International Labour Organization (ILO) - could implement in order to improve the situation of people subject to domination.