In a world where genocide, hunger, poverty, war, and disease persist and where richer nations often fail to act to address these problems or act too late, a prerequisite to achieving even modest social justice goals is to clarify the meaning of competing discourses on the concept. Throughout history, calls for social justice have been used to rationalize the status quo, promote modest reforms, and justify revolutionary, even violent action. Ironically, as the prominence of the concept has risen, the meaning of social justice has become increasingly obscured.

This authoritative volume explores different perspectives on social justice and what its attainment would involve. It addresses key issues, such as resolving fundamental questions about human nature and social relationships; the distribution of resources, power, status, rights, access, and opportunities; and the means by which decisions regarding this distribution are made. Illustrating the complexity of the topic, it presents a range of international, historical, and theoretical perspectives, and discusses the dilemmas inherent in implementing social justice concepts in policy and practice. Covering more than abstract definitions of social justice, it also includes multiple examples of how social justice might be achieved at the interpersonal, organizational, community, and societal levels.

With contributions from leading scholars around the globe, Reisch has put together a magisterial and multi-faceted overview of social justice. It is an essential reference work for all scholars with an interest in social justice from a wide range of disciplines, including social work, public policy, public health, law, criminology, sociology, and education.

chapter |5 pages


part |116 pages

Historical and cultural concepts of social justice

chapter |13 pages

Social Justice in an Era of Globalization

Must and can it be the focus of social welfare policies? Japan as a case study 1

chapter |17 pages

Decolonizing Livelihoods, Decolonizing the Will

Solidarity economy as a social justice paradigm in Latin America

chapter |12 pages

Indigenous Struggles for Justice

Restoring balance within the context of Anglo settler societies

part |221 pages

Social justice issues in policy and practice

chapter |19 pages

Housing, Homelessness, and Social Justice

No fate but what we make

chapter |32 pages

Psychological Justice

Distributive justice and psychiatric treatment of the non-disordered

chapter |13 pages

Violence and Safety

A social justice perspective

chapter |15 pages

A Looming Dystopia

Feminism, social justice, and community-based long-term care

chapter |12 pages

The Last Frontier?

Indigenous Australians and social justice

part |64 pages

Cultural reflections on social justice

chapter |12 pages

By Its Absence

Literature and the attainment of social justice consciousness