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Title: Young people's constructions of social justice
Author: Smart, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 1133
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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The study investigates young people's constructions of social justice, which are defined to be any ideas a person has about the best ways to live with difference in relation to the sharing of material goods, respect, social participation, power and social relations. This is a qualitative case study which took place in eight contrasting schools in the South East of England. A total of 110 secondary school students (aged between 11 and 17) took part in at least one focus group, and 69 took part in three focus groups. Participants included both boys and girls, high and low attainers, and came from a range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. The study develops a three-part framework consisting of the discourses, the assumptions and the consequences of social justice to guide the research. It is hoped that this framework will facilitate further dialogue between academics and practitioners about social justice. Participants' constructions of social justice reflect the influence of the neo-liberal discourses and practices which have dominated the educational field in which they have grown up and also the influence of ideologies of liberal egalitarianism and postmodernism. They therefore contain a number of interesting tensions and contradictions. To a large extent, participants' constructions of social justice are taken for granted and provisional, developed through socialisation as part of habitus. Participants do not seem to have many opportunities to reflect on their constructions of social justice, but when they do, they often find that ideas of difference-sensitive distributive justice resonate with their viii common sense understandings and with some of their gendered, classed and racialised assumptions about the world. Although some constructions of justice are associated with strong emotions and identifications, for the most part, participants' constructions of justice generated rather individualised proposals for social justice action, suggesting that these constructions are most likely to lead to social reproduction. ix
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available