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Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will? Troubling the relationship between career guidance and social justice

  • Ronald G. SultanaEmail author
Article

Abstract

Career guidance claims a lineage to ‘modernity’, where individuals carve dignified lives for themselves, irrespective of social origin. Here, ‘social justice’ has particular connotations, relating to the meritocratic redistribution of resources in ways that reward ability and effort. This article explores alternative conceptions of social justice, taking seriously the fundamental insight that if individuals make history, they do so in circumstances not of their own making. Drawing on recent theories of social justice, an effort is made to ‘trouble’ mainstream notions of career guidance, and to imagine how it can be of the greatest benefit to the least advantaged.

Keywords

Career guidance Social justice Neoliberalism 

Résumé

Pessimism de l’intellect, optimisme de la volonté? Troubler la relation entre le conseil en orientation et la justice sociale. Le conseil en orientation revendique une affiliation à une “modernité” où les individus se façonnent des vies dignes, indépendamment de leur origine sociale. Ici, la “justice sociale” a des connotations particulières reliées à la redistribution méritocratique des ressources de manière à récompenser l’aptitude et l’effort. Dans cet article, j’explore les conceptions alternatives de la justice sociale en prenant au sérieux l’idée que si les individus façonnent l’Histoire, ils le font dans des circonstances qui ne sont pas de leur propre fait. En s’appuyant sur les théories récentes de la justice sociale, un effort est entrepris pour “troubler” les notions traditionnelles du conseil en orientation et imaginer comment cette démarche peut contribuer à favoriser les plus démunis.

Zusammenfassung

Pessimismus des Intellekts, Optimismus des Willens? Zur Problematisierung der Beziehung zwischen beruflicher Beratung und sozialer Gerechtigkeit. Berufliche Beratung bezieht ihre Wurzeln aus einem Konzept von ‚Modernität‘, in dem Individuen ihr eigenes würdevolles Leben unabhängig von sozialer Herkunft selbst gestalten. ‚Soziale Gerechtigkeit‘hat in diesem Zusammenhang besondere Konnotationen hinsichtlich einer meritokratischen Umverteilung von Ressourcen, die individuelle Fähigkeiten und Anstrengungen belohnt. Der Beitrag erkundet alternative Konzepte sozialer Gerechtigkeit, welche die fundamentale Einsicht ernst nehmen, dass, wenn Individuen ihre Geschichte konstruieren, sie dies nicht im Rahmen von ihnen selbst gestalteter Lebensumstände tun. Bezugnehmend auf jüngste Theorien von sozialer Gerechtigkeit versucht der Beitrag, gängige Wahrnehmungen von Beratung zu hinterfragen und Ideen zu entwickeln, wie sie von größtem Nutzen für die am wenigsten Privilegierten sein könnte.

Resumen

¿Pesimismo del intelecto, optimismo de la voluntad? Enturbiando la relación entre la Orientación Profesional y la Justicia Social. La orientación profesional reclama un linaje a la “modernidad”, donde los individuos construyan una vida digna para sí mismos, independientemente de su origen social. Aquí, la “justicia social” tiene una connotación especial, en relación con la meritoria redistribución de los recursos de manera que premie la habilidad y el esfuerzo. A continuación se exploran las concepciones alternativas de la justicia social, tomando en serio la idea fundamental de que si las personas son las que hacen historia, no la hacen bajo circunstancias de su propia creación. A partir de las teorías recientes de la justicia social, se hace un esfuerzo por “crear problemas” en las nociones convencionales de la orientación profesional y en imaginar cómo podría ser de gran ayuda para los colectivos más desfavorecidos.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research (EMCER)University of MaltaMsidaMalta

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