The Political Value of Social Association


  • Jérôme Grand University of Geneva



freedom of association, political liberalism, non-political associations, social association, self-respect


This study focuses on the paradigmatic category of social association to question the general treatment of freedom of association in theories of justice. Social associations are organised, voluntary, and secondary associations that do not have any particular economic or political function and are not related to any external authority. This category is deployed to re-examine the relationship between freedom of association and the two moral powers. I support the argument that freedom of social association is not only an institutional condition for conscience, as stated by Rawls, but also has an evident direct connection with both moral powers, because they enable individuals to lead a life that they collectively affirm to be reasonable and valuable and develop a sense of value and confidence in their own abilities. This is the fundamental associative interest we have in self-respect, which has been rendered philosophically invisible in political liberalism by the category of non-political association.



2022-04-13 — Updated on 2022-04-13


How to Cite

Grand, J. (2022). The Political Value of Social Association. Ethics, Politics & Society, 5(1), 93–124.