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Decolonising Dignity for Inclusive Democracy

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The idea of dignity is often taken to be a foundation for principles of justice and democracy. In the West it has numerous formulations and conceptualisations. Within the capabilities approach to justice theorists have expanded the concept of dignity to encompass animals and ecological communities. In this article I rework the idea of dignity to include the Māori philosophical concepts of mauri, tapu and mana - something I argue is necessary if the capabilities approach is to decolonise in the Aotearoa context. Furthermore, the article links the nation's recognition of three extensive geographical regions - Te Awa Tupua, Te Urewera and Mt Taranaki - as legal persons to Mātauranga Māori and nonhuman dignity. In doing so, I identify the potential that this understanding of dignity and these legal moves have to decolonise democracy within the settler state.
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Keywords: Aotearoa; Māori; Settler State; capabilities approach; decolonisation; democracy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 2.158. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.047.
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