This volume brings together a collection of ten original essays which present new analyses of social and relational equality in philosophy and political theory. The essays analyze the nature of social equality, and its relationship with justice and with politics.
Is equality valuable? This question dominates many discussions of social justice. These discussions tend to center on whether certain forms of distributive equality are valuable, such as the equal distribution of primary social goods. They tend to neglect what is known as social or relational equality. Social egalitarians often argue that this form of equality is a more fundamental notion of equality than distributive equality. Rather than being primarily about distribution, equality, they claim, is foremost about relationships and interactions between people. When we appeal to the value of equality, we primarily mean the value of egalitarian and non-hierarchical relationships, and not of distributions.
The ideal of social equality features heavily in the history of the development of equality as an important part of political theory, and a number of contemporary philosophers have written about the significance of this form of equality. It has also played an important role in real-life egalitarian movements. However, as it has been relatively neglected – it requires much more theoretical attention. This collection is an attempt to help to redress this neglect by providing in-depth analyses on the nature and distinctiveness of socially egalitarian relationships.