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Negotiation as a Search for Justice

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image of International Negotiation

Current theories hold either that justice is absent from negotiation or that it hovers over negotiations as a single validating principle. This article maintains that neither is correct. There is no single validating principle of justice, but justice is not absent from negotiation. In the process of negotiation, negotiators themselves come to an agreement on a notion of justice which will govern the disposition of the items in conflict, and if they do not, negotiations will not be able to proceed any further to a conclusion. After a review of various competing approaches to negotiation, the article identifies three different types of simple justice, priority, equal and unequal, and also introduces the notion of compound justice. It examines the limited role of process justice in negotiations and then examines the search for justice in negotiations relating to arms control and regional security issues, as well as the role of justice in experimental work on negotiation. It concludes with an indication of the need for further research, particularly in regard to the choice of the type of justice which would be applicable to individual cases.

Affiliations: 1: SAIS, The Johns Hopkins University, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036, USA


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