From Reparations for Slavery to International Racial Justice: A Critical Republican Perspective


  • Magali Bessone



Critical republicanism, France, non-domination, racial justice, reparations, slavery


This paper focuses on demands for reparations for colonial slavery and their public reception in France. It argues that this bottom-up, context-sensitive approach to theorising reparations enables us to formulate a critical republican theory of international racial justice. It contrasts the critical republican perspective on reparations with a nation-state centred approach in which reparations activists are accused of threatening the French republic’s sense of homogeneity and unity, thus undermining the national narrative on the French identity. It also rejects the liberal egalitarian perspective, which itself rejects reparations in favour of focusing on present disadvantages. In so doing, this paper illustrates how the notion of non-domination offers a superior way of conceptualising global racial injustices compared to more traditional distributive outlooks.