Introduction: Social Justice Talk and Social Justice Practices in the Contemporary University

  • Susan GoodwinEmail author
  • Helen Proctor


This chapter explores the ambiguities and tensions inherent in social justice discourses and social justice practices in higher education. Starting from the idea that we work from where we are (Bell, Higher Education Research and Development 36, 16–20, 2017), the chapter positions the book as coming from a ‘settler colonial space’ and engaging with established and emerging conceptions of social justice in ‘neoliberal times’. The authors argue that it is in this context that ontological, epistemological and practical questions about social justice, research practices and university teaching are being generated. The chapter also introduces some of the diverse ways of thinking about social justice that higher education researchers and teachers are drawing upon, including theories of redistribution and recognition, non-western and global perspectives of social justice, as well as posthumanist, new materialist and Indigenous philosophies. These ways of thinking provide the background for engaging with the range of perspectives, politics, pedagogies and practices discussed under the banner of social justice that are provided in the chapters that follow.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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