In the late twentieth century many writers and activists envisioned new possibilities of transnational cooperation toward peace and global justice. In this book Iris Marion Young aims to revive such hopes by responding clearly to what are seen as the global challenges of the modern day.
Inspired by claims of indigenous peoples, the book develops a concept of self-determination compatible with stronger institutions of global regulation. It theorizes new directions for thinking about federated relationships between peoples which assume that they need not be large or symmetrical. Young argues that the use of armed force to respond to oppression should be rare, genuinely multilateral, and follow a model of law enforcement more than war. She finds that neither cosmopolitan nor nationalist responses to questions of global justice are adequate and so offers a distinctive conception of responsibility, founded on participation in social structures, to describe the obligations that both individuals and organizations have in a world of global interdependence.
Young applies clear analysis and cogent moral arguments to concrete cases, including the wars against Serbia and Iraq, the meaning of the US Patriot Act, the conflict in Palestine/Israel, and working conditions in sweat shops.