Professor Macedo will speak about some traditions of thinking about social justice and democracy, with a particular eye to the question of how we should think about local and diverse ways of creating a legitimate — morally and not only sociologically legitimate — and cooperative social order. Do leading Western models of constitutional democracy furnish standards for political legitimacy that apply globally? Do they provide guidance as to which social justice demands are morally most urgent? Do human rights furnish such guidance? How great is the danger that such models and traditions of thought might lead scholars or policy-makers to ignore diverse local traditions and conditions on the ground, producing more harm than good?
Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the former Director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He writes and teaches on political theory, ethics, public policy, and law, especially on topics related to liberalism, democracy and citizenship, diversity and civic education, religion and politics, and the family and sexuality. He is author of Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage (Princeton University Press, 2015). He is co-author of Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It (Brookings, 2005). His other books include Diversity and Distrust: Civic Education in a Multicultural Democracy (Harvard U. Press, 2000); and Liberal Virtues: Citizenship, Virtue, and Community in Liberal Constitutionalism (Oxford U. Press, 1990).