Weds, April 10 @ Harvard’s Mahindra Center | Bruno Perreau, “Sphères D’injustice: Pour Un Universalisme Minoritaire”

Published on: March 27, 2024

Harvard Mahindra Humanities Center’s France and the World Seminar presents, Bruno Perreau
“Sphères D’injustice: Pour Un Universalisme Minoritaire”

Wednesday, April 10 @ 5:00PM
Boylston Hall, Room 335

Bruno Perreau will be presenting on his latest book, Sphères d’injustice: pour un universalisme minoritaire (Spheres of Injustice: A Defense of Minority Universalism), published in October 2023 with La Découverte. Spheres of Injustice proposes a new theory of justice based on a cross-cultural study of minority politics and anti-discrimination law in France and the United States.

Spheres of Injustice analyzes the challenges faced by the notion of minority today on both sides of the Atlantic:

  1. “Minority” has become so complex a denomination that it is difficult to use in law and spawns its own, whole diversity industry.
  2. Reactionary instrumentalizes it by demanding, in the name of their freedom of expression, to be protected as minorities.
  3. The lists of protected groups encourage competition among minorities, as is the case, regarding affirmative action, between Asian-American and African-American students.

Spheres of Injustice attempts to overcome these challenges and restore sharpness to the notion of minority. In the wake of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy, the book proposes a theory of subjectivity as a sort of co-appearance with others on the social stage. This demonstrates that we are governed by the way others are governed.

As a rereading of Michael Walzer’s classic work, Spheres of Justice, Perreau’s book shows that responsibility to others and protecting the planet require a conception of justice based not only on abstract moral principles in different spheres of life but also on the concrete experience of injustice. Spheres of Injustice thus defends a minority ethics of learning rather than a morality of interest (classical liberal theories), recognition (multiculturalist theories), or empathy (care theories). Spheres of Injustice demonstrates the need for a universalist philosophy based on the minority part that runs through each of us.