On David Miller’s Institutional Theory of Social Justice





Published date: 

June, 2005


Man-To Leung


Recently, there has been a rising interest in institutionalism in political studies. Institutionalism appears as both empirical theories of politics and normative theories of social justice. This paper examines David Miller’s institutional theory of social justice, its characteristics and theoretical consistency. Miller’s theory takes manifold institutions seriously and its aim is to prescribe how to design institutions and regulate their operation. Miller attempts to combine pluralistic principles of justice, multi-dimensional functions of principles of justice, variety of resources and manifold social contexts together into a coherent whole. Apart from institutions, distributive outcomes, procedures and human behaviors are important elements of institutional theory of social justice. We aim to integrate these elements and thereby further develop Miller’s theory. This paper outlines a framework of institutional theory and aims at its improvements. Miller’s theory stimulates us to rethink the possibility of a localized theory of justice appropriate to the present domestic context.