What Is Social Justice?

What is social justice?  It “…is both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs.  Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure” (Bell, 2010, p. 21).

Social justice is a philosophical response to structural violence or the “physical and psychological harm that results from exploitive and unjust social, political, and economic systems” (Gilman, 1983, p. 8).  James Gilligan (1997) defines structural violence as “the increased rates of death and disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society, as contrasted with the relatively lower death rates experienced by those who are above them” (p. 89).

 – excerpt from De Reus, L. (2011). Seeking justice for families. In L. De Reus and L. Blume (Eds.), Social, Economic and Environmental Justice for All Families. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Library MPublishing.

About Lee Ann De Reus

Executive Director, DV LEAP; Co-founder, Panzi Foundation USA
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