The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

“Social Sciences and the Education of the Social Justice Movement”

Agnes Vashegyi MacDonald, Simon Fraser University (Canada)


The Social Sciences, particularly, Sociology at many universities and colleges across North America and Europe played a key role in researching, examining, analyzing and developing discourses about marginalized groups and social agents since the 1960s. These marginalized groups and social agents are part of the categorization and labels of ‘race and ethnicity’, ‘class’, ‘gender and sex’, ‘sexual orientation’, and ‘ableism’ primarily. Putting scholastic research about these marginalized groups into practice or praxis by scholars of the Social Sciences since the mid-1980s onward have resulted in making the life experiences of these groups and individuals as a touch-stone marker of academic validity. In this paper, I argue that Sociology is a major contributor to the Social Justice Movement that has taken academia to the streets, homes, bedrooms, workplaces and more to understand, include, and most specifically construct context for the voices, everyday-lived experiences, struggles, needs, and demands of the marginalized segments of populations in North America, Europe, and expanding its project into the post-colonial regions of the world. How has Sociology fulfilled its initial intentions of finding explanations to social inequalities of the marginalized groups? Has the discipline reached its peak whereby many of its theories, concepts, and discourses now are adopted by everyday vocabularies, practices, and even government regulations, and subsequently, saturated its raison d’étre? Can Sociology offer more momentum from the academic side in the current trend of education in the mainstream society of the meaning of Social Justice? This paper aims to explore how the Social Justice Movement has gained precedence in public discourses through its roots in Sociology, and in turn, Sociology is an important element in the Education of the Social Justice Movement in academia. To this effect, this paper tries to illuminate the positive and negative consequences of the mixing of academic scholarship with public movements for efforts of achieving equality for marginalized groups and social agents. It draws ideas from scholars of Sociology, Gender and Women’s Studies, Queer Theory, Post-Colonial theory and more.

Keywords: Sociology, Social Justice, Movement, marginalized groups, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, class, ability.

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