Generative Justice: Value from the Bottom-Up

Generative Justice: Value from the Bottom-Up

Heffner Alumni House-Conference Room

June 27, 2014 3:00 PM - June 28, 2014

Alondra Nelson is a professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. In books such as Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, and the forthcoming Social Life of DNA: Race and Reconciliation after the Genome, she examines the roles and strategies that lay citizens have developed in relations between race, science and justice; from grassroots medical programs to youtube “reveals” of genetic ancestry testing.

What is Generative Justice?
Social problems are often addressed through the top-down forms of “distributive justice”: intervention from government agencies and regulations for example. But science and technology innovations have opened new possibilities for “generative justice”: bottom-up networks that strive for a more equitable and sustainable world through communitarian value generation. Some examples of generative justice involve lay innovation: maker spaces, DIY movements, and “appropriated” technologies.  In others, nature is a generator of value: urban agriculture, food justice, and indigenous harvesting. Some focus on Open Source, bringing code, blueprints and 3D printing into the public domain. Still others concern composite networks: for example community waste projects that link recycling and organic composting with artistic production, “fixer” movements and other forms of community development. Generative justice can apply to social entrepreneurship, restorative justice, community media, and social solidarity economies. It is the ethics which enables those who generate value to directly participate in its benefits, create their own conditions of production, and nurture sustainable paths for its circulation.

For full conference schedule see


Add to calendar