Social Justice Representations of students and teachers from Spain

Sainz, Vanesa; Juanes, Almudena; Maldonado, Antonio; Jacott, Liliana (2016). 'Social Justice Representations of students and teachers from Spain' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

abstract Our theoretical framework about Social Justice is based on the three dimensions suggested by Fraser (2008): Redistribution, Recognition and Participation, and also in the work developed by Amartya Sen (1999) and Martha Nussbaum (2003, 2011) in relation to the capabilities approach.  Through these three main dimensions, Social Justice should reach plenary human development and develop the basic and universal capabilities to all people (Nussbaum, 2011; Sen, 2009). Following the ideas of Prilleltensky (2012) Social Justice must promote social and individual welfare and individual and collective autonomy. Our main objective is to contribute to the development of a theoretical discussion based also on empirical research for the analysis and development of this approach to social justice in education. Along with this, from our point of view is essential to discuss the importance of developing social justice oriented citizens, understood as those citizens who participate actively and critically as agents of change in the system that is causing and reproducing inequalities and injustices in the world we live today (Westheimer, 2015). In this empirical research, we have analysed the representations that students and teachers have about Social Justice in 20 secondary schools from different regions of Spain (Madrid, Castila and Leon, Andalusia, Basque Country and Extremadura). We applied a Social Justice Representations Questionnaire (SJRQ) to a sample of 3229 high school students (in 2nd and 4rd course of secondary education and 2nd course of baccalaureate with standardized ages of 13, 15 and 17 years old respectively), 207 in-service teachers in high school education and 683 pre-service teachers of different educational grades. The questionnaire is formed by 30 dilemmas in the students’ version and 39 in teachers’. They include a set of different dilemmas about the three main dimensions of Social Justice (Redistribution, Recognition and Representation) and we add 9 specific education dilemmas for teachers. To obtain the final versions, previously the instruments have been under a double process of validation (pilot study and expert validation). Finally, we obtain a global Social Justice representation result and three specific scores of Redistribution, Recognition and Representation. Teachers’ questionnaire also allows estimate educational Social Justice Scores for the three main dimensions. The results show an adequate internal consistence and a good reliability of our instrument and significant differences in social justice conceptions regarding level of education, age and gender. Finally, these results demonstrate a developmental and a gender trend and also differences between students and teachers in the accessibility to the three dimensions of Social Justice. 

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