Thoughts on Social Justice and Universities

  • Raewyn ConnellEmail author


To speak about social justice in universities is to wrestle with the problem of how to transform privilege for some into a resource for others. We need, therefore, a process-oriented concept; the classic but ahistorical discussions of justice, from Plato to Rawls, are of limited use. Rather, we should think of justice as a direction of movement in the social processes that constitute history: towards equality, respect and inclusion. Relevant research will address the practices and structures that deliver privilege, including the making of knowledge. Relevant teaching will develop the tools needed, in fields like teaching and social work, for socially just practice, including higher education curriculum, pedagogy and employment. Social justice requires a crucial commitment by universities: to speak the truth. This has been corrupted by three decades of corporatization. What will replace it: authoritarian nationalism? Or can we find a better path?


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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