Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tim Hayward – A Global Right of Water

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 27 Jan 2016

Photo: United Nations

Photo: United Nations

This week’s PTRG saw Professor Tim Hayward present his paper ‘A Global Right of Water’.  In the paper, Tim answered several important questions such as: whether a right regarding safe and clean water is a ‘basic right’ without which no other right can be enjoyed; who has what responsibility to fulfil the material demands that this right entails; whether the traditional paradigm of thinking is appropriate to address real ecological challenges of a changing world; what political institution would be needed to realise everyone’s secure access to safe and clean water. Continue reading

Up to Ten Fully Funded PhD Studentships at Political and International Relations in Edinburgh

Up to 10 fully funded PhD scholarships in Politics & International Relations, Edinburgh

Applicants interested in work in political theory/political philosophy are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Political Theory group at Edinburgh is a large and diverse comunity of academics, post-doctoral fellows, and PhD students. We hold weekly research seminars and regular conferences and workshops. We host the Just World Institute which, in addition to research activities, has a flourishing programme of public engagement events: Continue reading

Monumental Legacies and Symbolic Humiliation

As the recent controversies surrounding Cecil Rhodes’ statues in South Africa and the UK have shown, public constructions attest to political regimes’ desire to imprint their version of history on the country’s landscape and, more importantly, on the memory of citizens. Statues, memorials and monuments set in stone a certain view of the past, usually in glorious and heroic terms. Hierarchies of all kinds (political, social, racialised, gendered) are reflected in – and reproduced through – public art, one of the many ‘voices’ through which the state speaks. What is celebrated or commemorated is as significant as what is forgotten: defeats, reprehensible deeds by the nation, as well as marginalized groups are usually omitted from the material representation of the official story.


The Voortrekker Monument, South Africa

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Yukinori Iwaki – Temporal Debt, Ecological Debt, and the ‘Absolute’ Harm to the Disadvantaged

Political Theory Research Group seminar series: 13 Jan 2016

Photo: International Labour Organization

Photo: International Labour Organization

This week’s PTRG saw Yukinori Iwaki present his paper ‘Temporal Debt, Ecological Debt, and the “Absolute” Harm to the Disadvantaged’. In the paper, Yuki introduces two novel concepts to explain how the world’s advantaged population are complicit in absolute harm towards the disadvantaged: the accumulation of ‘temporal debt’ and ‘ecological debt’. He identifies five components of human well-being whose denial constitutes harm: continued life, bodily health, bodily integrity, practical reason, and human affiliation. Subsequently, he argues that time and space are the overarching dimensions within which a human lives her life, and therefore infringements on these two dimensions lead to harm. Crucially, the paper attempts to locate the origin of this harm. Instead of simply noting the existence of the harm, Yuki asserts that the harm to the disadvantaged stems from injustices and debts caused by the advantaged. Thus, he enters well-known debates in global justice, mostly associated with Thomas Pogge, on the relation and responsibility of global injustices but with a more comprehensive account of how and why these injustices (or harms) occur. Continue reading