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Transnational Philanthropy, Justice, and Domination

Blunt, GD; (2013) Transnational Philanthropy, Justice, and Domination. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Transnational philanthropic organisations (TPOs) have become important agents in the relief of global poverty. However, the current literature on transnational justice has treated them as uncontroversial vehicles for realising duties to the global poor. This thesis asks whether the current conditions under which TPOs operate raise questions of socioeconomic justice. It will be structured into two parts. The first argues that the current practices of TPOs are characterised by benevolent domination. It begins by addressing the common assumption that transnational philanthropy is a matter of personal ethics rather than justice. It will be shown, using Peter Singer's "solution" to global poverty, that the ethical approach either lacks the tools to be able to assess the character of institutions that are necessary to relieve global poverty or relies on a crypto-utilitarian theory of justice. In either case, this provides reasons for relational theorists to reject Singer's approach and provides prima facie justification for examining transnational philanthropy from the perspective of justice. It continues by generating a conception of domination that is drawn from the republican tradition of political thought. However, it distinguishes itself from the conventional understanding by emphasising the structural, normative, and systemic elements of domination. This conception will be used to test the current practices of TPOs. It will be shown that they are characterised by social relationships in which TPOs possess institutionally constituted capacity for interactional and systemic arbitrary interference in the choices available to the global poor, who are in a situation of dependency. In other words, TPOs dominate the global poor. The second part of the thesis will argue that benevolent domination is an ecumenical problem for relational theories of justice. It will then examine social liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and republicanism. It will be argued that in varying degrees these three theories have idealised TPOs and, consequently, have provided non-ideal guidance that is incoherent with the principles found in ideal theory and is an impediment for the development of just transnational social institutions. As a result, it will be argued that this exposes the need for a theory of transitional socioeconomic justice that can provide coherent guidance that is adequately transitional. The last chapter of the thesis will provide explore what this means for theories of transnational justice and the practice of transnational philanthropy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Transnational Philanthropy, Justice, and Domination
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation withheld.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1383804
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