Social Justice Seminar Series

SOCIAL JUSTICE: POLITICS, PRACTICES AND URGENT QUESTIONS

22 August 2017

A joint presentation by the Sydney School of Education and Social Work Social Policy, and School and Teacher Education Policy research networks

What do we mean when we talk about social justice and how should we proceed?

Terms such as, “social justice”, “diversity”, “equity” and “inclusion” are in common use in universities, but they are not always used with clarity or precision. Sometimes they describe well-developed plans and actions. Occasionally they represent little more than progressive chic. In any case it is time for some serious examination of what we mean when we talk about social justice – and of how we might attempt to act in socially just ways. This series of fortnightly seminars aims to deepen our collective understanding of social justice by addressing a range of pressing problems from teaching, research and community engagement in the areas of education and social work. The presentations will be critical and questioning, and hopefully push beyond the language of feel-good vision statements in order to encourage hard thinking and serious agenda setting about the practices and politics of inequality.

Are social policies useful for social justice?

Social policies can be key instruments in delivering social justice. They can also reinforce inequality, exclusion and social hierarchies. This presentation will argue that the potential of social policies to obtain social justice depends on the negotiation of policy making. Advocates, bureaucracies and politicians are some of the groups involved in such negotiation. Policy making is a process with political, ethical and technical dimensions. The possibilities of social policies to deliver social justice depend on the negotiation of these dimensions. A negotiation that is not always resolved but may continue in permanent conflict. This argument will be illustrated with examples of youth social policies and gender equality policies in Latin America. Presenter: Fernando Serrano-Amaya

Teaching undergraduate comparative and international education: social justice as, in and beyond our pedagogy and practice

The presenters will share aspects of their work within issues of social justice in education particularly related to their teaching on a unit of study that is conceived at multiple conceptual and geographical levels and framed globally. They will highlight the aims and challenges experienced in researching, teaching and attempting to act on, communicate and understand areas of social justice. These areas include: changing societal demographics, for example, relating to those seeking asylum and migration; deepening inequality within and between nations; discrimination within education and multilevel policy processes and structures; financial and social inequities; and poverty. Students’ close consideration of located assumptions about these issues is central, often in tandem with the instructors' own, and they will tie that process to critical introductions to global social institutions and phenomena. Doctors McCormick and Thomas will consider the influences of language, and the potential to deliberate, act on and open critical questions and debates within their chosen fields. Presenters: Alex McCormick and Matthew Thomas

Event details

  • When: 4–5.30pm

  • Where: Room 612, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
    Education Building A35
    Click image for interactive map.

  • Cost: Free

  • RSVP: Not necessary

  • Contact:

    Dr Kelly Freebody
    E: kelly.freebody@sydney.edu.au

    Professor Donna Baines
    E: donna.baines@sydney.edu.au

    Associate Professor Susan Goodwin
    E: susan.goodwin@sydney.edu.au

    Associate Professor Helen Proctor
    E: helen.proctor@sydney.edu.au


  • More info: View the topics and speakers for the entire series of seminars on the Social Policy Research Network events website or the School and Teacher Education Policy Research Network events website.

  • Speakers: Fernando Serrano-Amaya is the current Thomas and Ethel Mary Ewing Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney. He has extensive experience working for NGOs, international cooperation agencies and state institutions in Colombia. Whilst working in non-academic environments, he has been a productive independent scholar. His PhD research on homophobia and political transitions will be published in September 2017 by Palgrave McMillan.

    Alex McCormick has been teaching in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work since 2008, and at different levels and in various countries prior to that. She coordinates and teaches comparative and international education undergraduate and master's units, and foundation courses in the sociology of education, as well as in development studies. Her primary research is into multilevel-education policy processes globally, recently focusing on civil societies in Asia and the Pacific.

    Matthew AM Thomas is a lecturer (assistant professor) at the University of Sydney, where he teaches and coordinates education foundation courses in the  sociology of education and comparative and international education. His scholarship focuses on teachers, educational policies, pedagogical practice and the roles of colleges of education in domestic and international contexts.

Social Justice Seminar Series

Where Room 612, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
Education Building A35
Click image for interactive map.

When

22 August 2017


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