Dr Alice Baderin

ISRF Early Career Fellow 2019-20

Dr Alice Baderin

ISRF Early Career Fellow 2019-20

Alice Baderin | Anticipatory Injustice

Alice Baderin is a Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading. Her current research focuses on two main areas of contemporary political philosophy. First, she is interested in questions of justice and risk: What is it like to live with insecurity, and how does foregrounding this issue shape our thinking about the demands of social justice? Second, she is addressing problems of method in political theory. For example, what role should evidence about public opinion play in normative political theory? How should we understand and evaluate recent calls for more ‘realistic’ approaches to the discipline? Some of her current research integrates philosophical argument with in-depth analysis of quantitative evidence – with the aim of generating payoffs for both normative theory and empirical enquiry.

In 2019-20, she is working on a new project on ‘Anticipatory Injustice’, supported by an ISRF Early Career Research Fellowship. This research explores the moral significance of our anticipatory responses to risk: the characteristic steps that vulnerable people take to ward off threats of future injustice or hardship. She argues that the unequal distribution of the burdens of anticipating risk represents a significant, and currently underrecognized, form of injustice in contemporary societies. 

Prior to joining the University of Reading in 2018, Alice was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. She holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and a DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford. She has also worked in applied social research.

Anticipatory Injustice

Our imagined futures have profound effects on our lives in the here and now. In particular, the steps we commonly take to prepare for, and protect ourselves against, risks of future injustice or hardship shape our present lives in powerful ways.

For example, I talk to my black child about the risk he will be racially discriminated against, but with the fear that this necessary warning will lead him to feel alienated or demotivated. I take on a second job as a response to insecurity in my primary employment, but at significant cost to my personal relationships. I signal my class privilege in an effort to ward off racial prejudice, but in tension with my own identity and values. Thus, whilst our anticipatory reactions to insecurity can have protective and empowering effects, they often also impose significant burdens. The aim of this project is to develop a novel theory of anticipatory injustice: an account of the injustice that is constituted and caused by our anticipatory responses to risk. I will draw together insights from political science, sociology and social psychology to build a rich picture of the conscious strategies, and more instinctive steps, we characteristically take to ward off risk. The normative contribution is to show how foregrounding these practices reshapes our thinking about social injustice. By illuminating the moral significance of our anticipatory responses to insecurity, the project seeks to address an important gap in existing theories of social justice.

The account of anticipatory injustice is developed through detailed investigation of two central cases: parenting practices in response to the threat of racial discrimination and anticipatory reactions to economic insecurity. By integrating normative theory with empirical evidence, and engaging with these significant live issues, the project advances the ISRF commitment to original interdisciplinary research that addresses contemporary problems.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.