INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY
Justice has been most important concepts in political philosophy since immemorial times.
The concept has been defined in various ways by different thinkers in different political
tradition. Meaning of justice also varies from people to people depending upon their
conditions, expectation and actual realization. For example, internally displaced persons
may expect proper rehabilitation from the authority. Similarly, victims of racial violence
would demand adequate compensation as well as apology from the perpetrator, if not
punishment. On other hand, in cases of sexual violence against women, society will want
punishment to the violator and rehabilitation to the victim. However in social science,
justice implies to distribution of ‘resources such as wealth, opportunity and privilege in a
society. Multiple meaning of justice is also interpreted in various philosophical traditions.
In Ancient Greek, justice means regulating role and functions of various social classes in
the society. For Plato, it was ‘functional specialization’. Following Platonic notion of wellordered
society, Aristotle defined justice as ‘virtue’ which regulates proper conducts of
society’. (Aristotle, 1999: pp. 71-80) In modern political vocabulary, justice often refers
to the allocation of rights and benefits of citizens through established norms and
institutional procedures. In general parlance, the concept however is interpreted as
‘fairness’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘morally correct or goodness’. Shortly, a theory of justice,
in its simplest form, provides a reasonable ground for regulating distribution of rewards
and punishment in society. So, purpose of pursuing justice is to bring a ‘good society’. A
‘good society’ is considered as just society. The concept of justice is an ‘essentially
contested’ concept, however the concept is generally understood as distribution of
rewards or punishment according to what she or he is due to.