SOCY09001 2016 Introduction to Social Justice Theory

General Details

Full Title
Introduction to Social Justice Theory
Transcript Title
Social Justice Theory
N/A %
Subject Area
SOCY - Society
SOCS - Social Sciences
09 - NFQ Level 9
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2016 - Full Academic Year 2016-17
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
majella mulkeen
Programme Membership
SG_WSOCI_M09 201700 Master of Arts in Social Care & Social Justice SG_WSOCI_O09 201700 Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Social Care & Social Justice SG_WSOCI_M09 202100 Master of Arts in Social Sciences

The aim of this module is to introduce learners to the core theories in the field of social justice and assess their application to contemporary contexts in social care. Learners will develop a critical analysis of the range of theories and examine the contribution of conceptualisations of recognition, redistribution, capabilities, rights and fairness to various practice settings  such as disability, family support and children/young people.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;

  • A systematic understanding of social justice knowledge an examination of major western theories of social justice
  • Scrutinize the principles of social justice as the politics of difference
  • Assess the principles of justice as parity of participation
  • Engage with the contribution of the contemporary theorists Alex Honneth and Nancy Frazer on recognition and distributive justice

Critically assess the capabilities approach of Nussbaum and its relevance to social care

  • Apply understandings of social justice to social care arenas of practice: distribution, recognition, group rights, participation

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be delivered in a blended learning format comprise of the following elements

Introductory face-to-face class period

Online lectures 3 hours alternate weeks, accompanied by discussion requirements on key learning points

In class 2.5 day period of teaching and learning

Independent study by learners

Module Assessment Strategies

There will be an essay and a workplace based project to assess learners understanding of key tenets of the module and their capacity to interpret their learning in the context of their particular work place. Such an assessment strategy enables learners to demonstrate their capacity to develop their own thinking in relation to frameworks for social justice work and engage with the practical challenges of initiating change in their own work setting

Essay 50%

Work based project 50% 

Repeat Assessments

Learners will repeat either the essay or the project with assignment guidelines provided

Indicative Syllabus

Defining social justice and the relationship between principles of social justice and associated values: equality, freedom, rights, citizenship

Formal and substantive equality; Equality of access, participation and outcome

Rawls theory of justice - outline and critique

Theories of distribution and recognition: the work of Alex Honneth and Nancy Frazer

The concept of group rights and equality: the work of Okin and Parekh

Democracy, difference and inclusion: the work of Young and Philips

The capabilities approach and human development: the work of Nussbaum and Sen

Application to social care contexts: examine the contribution of the above theories of social justice to emancipatory practice in social care

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Theories of social justice in context Continuous Assessment Essay 50 % Week 7 1,2,3,4

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Applying theory to practice settings Final Exam Project 50 % Week 13 5,6

Part Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Tutorial Flat Classroom Theories of Social Justice 18 Once Per Module 1.20
Lecture Classroom Equipped for OLL. Substantive theoretical content 3 Fortnightly 1.50
Total Part Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.70 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Cray, G. Burchardt, T. and D. Gordon (2008) Social Justice and Public Policy-seeking fairness in diverse societies. Bristol: Policy Press

Frazer N. (1996) Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics: Redistribution, Recognition, and Participation THE TANNER LECTURES ON HUMAN VALUES Stanford University April 30–May 2

Fraser, N. (1997). Justice interruptus: critical reflections on the "postsocialist" condition. New York: Routledge

Honneth, A. (2003) Redistribution or Recognition?: A Political-Philosophical Exchange, co-authored with Nancy Fraser New York London: Verso.

Miller, D. (1999) Principles of social justice. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press

Nussbaum, M. C. (2000) Women and human development. The capabilities approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Nussbaum, M. (2003) Capabilities as fundamental entitlements: Sen and social justice. Feminist Economics, 9(2–3), 33–59.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2011) Creating capabilities. The human development approach. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Okin Moller S. (1989) Justice, Gender and The Family. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Parekh, B. (2000) Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. Basingstoke and London: Macmillan

Payne. M. (2014) Social Justice and Social Care in Routledge International Handbook of Social Justice (ed) M. Reisch. Oxon: Routledge

Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice (Revised edition). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Sen, A. (1979) Equality of what? The Tanner lecture on human values. California: Stanford University.

Sen, A. (1999) Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Young, I. M. (1990) Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Young, I. M. (2001) Equality of whom? Social groups and judgments of injustice. Journal of Political Philosophy, 9(1) 1–18.

Zelleke A. (2008) Reconsidering Independence: Foundations of a Feminist Theory of Distributive Justice. The New School, NY ( Paper presented at the 12th BIEN Congress, Dublin, Ireland, June 20-21, 2008

URL Resources

Equality and Social Justice Ireland Website:

Hanlon N. (2009) Valuing Equality in Social Care  availble online at

Vincent de Paul Website

Social Justice Ireland website