Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence

By Morwenna Griffiths | Go to book overview

6: Educational research for social
justice: a framework

Defining and understanding social justice

In this chapter, even more than Chapter 5,1 'get off the fence', taking a position on the nature of social justice and on educational research for social justice. In the book as a whole, I have been drawing on my own research and practice over a decade and more (as I explained in Chapter 1). In all that research I was indebted to others for their help and ideas - whether it could be called 'joint' research or not. However, this chapter is very much the product of collaborative research, the research into social justice that I described in Chapter 2. In particular, the next section is the result of collaboration in that research project, and I need to acknowledge my coresearchers and give due weight to the contribution of the rest of the group who made it - who are continuing to make it. I say 'continuing to make' because the version used in this book is a snapshot of a developing process. The use I make of the project is my responsibility, but I am not the sole author of it. That is, it arose as a result of collaboration, but not all the participants would agree with all that I say about it, or the use I make of it.1

I have not yet explained in any detail what I mean by social justice. Instead, I have worked from examples and relied on the common understandings of the term to be clear enough for my purposes. In addition, in Chapter 1 (pages 12-13), I stated three principles of social justice, very briefly. The time has come to look at the idea more directly. First, I look at my choice of the term 'social justice'. Why do I not, for instance, talk about 'equality issues' or 'equal opportunities'? Or, indeed, why do I not avoid these terms by being specific and naming the particular source of injustice, using terms like feminism, anti-racism, social class, sexuality or some combinations of these (like Patricia Hill Collins's 'black feminist')? Why do I prefer to work with the term 'social justice', a term which has not been as widely used as 'equal opportunities', 'feminism' or 'anti-racism'?

One reason for choosing the term 'social justice' is precisely because it has

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Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Part I: Introduction and Context 1
  • 1: Taking Sides, Getting Change 3
  • 2: Research for Social Justice? Some Examples 15
  • Part II: Theoretical Frameworks for Practical Purposes 29
  • Introduction to Part II 31
  • 3: Truths and Methods 33
  • 4: Facts and Values 44
  • 5: Living with Uncertainty in Educational Research 65
  • 6: Educational Research for Social Justice 85
  • Part III: Practical Possibilities 99
  • Introduction to Part III 101
  • 7: Getting Started 105
  • 8: Getting Justice 117
  • 9: Better Knowledge 129
  • 10: Educational Research at Large 141
  • Appendix: Fair Schools 148
  • References 149
  • Index 159
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