Agency, complicity, and the responsibility to resist structural injustice

Corwin Aragon, Alison Jaggar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
416 Downloads (Pure)


Philosophers working on global ethics pay increasing attention to wrongs that result from everyday social practice. They look beyond the actions of individual “bad apples,” the failings of corrupt states, and the practices of supposedly “illiberal” cultures to provide increasingly comprehensive accounts of the global structural processes that produce and perpetuate injustice. Structural analyses reveal connections among wrongs that at first sight appear unrelated to each other and show how the actions of individuals can contribute to injustice at local, national, regional, and even global levels. However, although these accounts illuminate the empirical situation, the ethical picture remains blurred. How, if at all, are individual citizens morally responsible for injustices rooted in the structure of the global order? This paper builds on Iris Marion Young’s work to offer an answer based on people’s complicity with unjust structural processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-460
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2018


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