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ERIC Number: EJ858665
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1052-2891
Pursuit of Social Justice in Situations of Conflict
Heaney, Tom
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n123 p65-74 Fall 2009
"Fairness" and "justice" are, according to Gallie (1964), essentially contested concepts--concepts for which there are common understandings in the abstract, but disagreements over the application of these concepts to specific instances. Contested terms are often critical in ethical dilemmas--those times when practitioners are faced with choices based on their interpretation of what is fair or what is just. The determination of what constitutes "social justice," what is fair or reasonable in human interactions, is always contextual and involves weighing the interests of self, others, and the social order. The concept of "order" is itself contested, representing social arrangements that benefit some more than others. It is in this situational quagmire that practitioners struggle for definitions of justice. As the author thinks of his experiences as an adult educator committed to issues of social justice and fairness, many examples come to mind of instances in which his sense of what was just or what was fair differed significantly from the understanding of these concepts by others. In this article, the author discusses two examples of conflicting views of what is right and just in a situation. He then reflects on the ambiguity of ethical choices in adult education for democratic social change, especially in activities sponsored by traditional academic organizations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A