Skip to main content

Sociology: Research


Paper Details

Author: Stanley Raffel

Title: A Sociological Theory of Justice

Year: 1996

ISBN: 1-900522-25-X

Whereas political philosophy treats the problem of justice as a problem of distribution, this paper argues that sociology should treat the problem of justice as a problem of action. A social actor, it is suggested, would be a self-reflective actor. Three versions of self-reflective action are discussed: intelligible action, reasonable action, and action and orients to its own significance or, in other words, affirms communal value. If issues of justice can be understood as when we reflect on our acts' significance or what virtue(s) and/or vice(s) an action practices, then justice can be seen as a key tool for the third version of a self-reflective actor. Various non-sociological sources - notably Dante but also cases from fiction and ordinary life - are used to construct this sociological approach to justice.