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Title: Social justice in career guidance : a Fraserian approach
Other Titles: Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism
Authors: Rice, Suzanne
Keywords: Neoliberalism
Vocational guidance -- Philosophy
Social justice -- Vocational guidance
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Rice, S. (2018). Social justice in career guidance : a Fraserian approach. In T. Hooley, R. G. Sultana & R. Thomsen (Eds.), Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism (pp. 125-142). London: Routledge.
Abstract: The goal of a more just and equitable society is a laudable one, and scholars have argued that education systems are a pivotal mechanism for moving towards this goal (e.g. Bell, 2016). Education, including career guidance, can assist in increasing equity by infl uencing students’ future trajectories through building their intellectual and social capital, and through the work of educators and guidance counsellors as they articulate and challenge received social understandings about dominant ideas, in particular around the worth and contributions of marginalised groups (e.g. McInerney, 2004). In conceptualising social justice and the just society, some theorists have focused primarily on resources (e.g. Rawls, 1971, 2001)—that is, on the equitable distribution of resources and access to them across a society. Other work and writers in the fi eld have focused on the politics of recognition. The exclusion of non-dominant groups from social constructions of what is real, important or valued has occupied scholars from post-colonial perspectives (e.g. Spivak, 1988), gender diversity perspectives (e.g. Weeks, 2009) and feminist perspectives (e.g. Rowbotham, 1973), among others. Political theorist Nancy Fraser draws together these ideas in her conceptualisation of the socially just society and arguably extends them. Fraser sees the goal of a just society as parity of participation; by participation, she refers to not only economic participation through the workforce, but also personal and social participation, and the capacity for all voices to inform public discourse. Fraser argues that redistribution (the reallocation of resources in more equitable ways) and recognition (the reconstruction of what is perceived to be real and valued to include the perspectives and experience of non-dominant groups) are folk paradigms that are embedded in social justice movements, that is, they are a set of linked and unarticulated assumptions held by those fighting for justice about the causes of, and solutions to, injustice. In Fraser’s construction of social justice, distribution refers primarily to the distribution of socio-economic resources. Maldistribution, its opposite, occurs when there is unequal access to resources, leading to a lack of parity of participation. Blunden notes that ‘the collective subjects of maldistribution are classes’ ( 2004 ), and the potential solutions to maldistribution are found in various forms of economic restructuring, whether through welfare benefi ts or through the provision of resources (such as health care, education and career guidance). Recognition focuses on the cultural, and misrecognition is evident in the lack of access to status and power experienced by non-hegemonic members of society. Injustices of recognition (which Fraser terms misrecognition) take the form of embedded social aspects such as understandings about the roles people should or should not undertake, who is suited to holding power, who is allowed to be seen or heard, or whose experience is validated. While the collective subjects of maldistribution are classes, the collective subjects of misrecognition are status groups: women, those whose sexuality is not hetero-normative, immigrant groups and many more. Hierarchies of cultural value are embedded in processes, assumptions and discourses, and these hierarchies deny some groups social standing. Fraser believes that these two approaches to conceptualising social justice issues are no longer suffi cient. She argues that distributive understandings of social justice and those focused on recognition have to date mostly been grounded in what she terms the Keynesian/Westphalian frame, in which the framework for thinking about, defining and addressing issues of justice and injustice is the territorial nation state. She has argued that with the rise of supranational and international organisations in a globalized world many people feel: a new sense of vulnerability to transnational forces. Faced with global warming, the spread of AIDS, international terrorism and superpower unilateralism, many believe that their chances for living good lives depend at least as much on processes that trespass the borders of territorial states as on those contained within them. Under these conditions, the Keynesian/Westphalian frame no longer goes without saying. It is no longer axiomatic that the modern territorial state is the appropriate unit for thinking about issues of justice. (2005, p. 71) That is, in modern societies, various forms of power now extend well beyond nation states and governments, so assuming that justice can be achieved simply by working in terms of national governments is likely to lead to failure. Democratic voting to influence policy is no longer enough, as in a globalised world many of those affected by the decisions of those with power will have no form of representation in the decisions. If distribution is primarily about access to resources (financial and other), and recognition is primarily focused on cultural constructions of status, then the third element of Fraser’s framework, representation, is political. Representation in Fraser’s thinking is about who is entitled to make claims upon whom for justice, and Fraser argues that this increasingly should transcend national borders and citizenship (Fraser, 2007). Misrepresentation occurs with the exclusion of some from the community of those entitled to make such claims, and can include the processes by which such claims can be made. Those affected by decisions, actions, laws and policies should be entitled to a voice in their enactment and modification. She asks, ‘Do the boundaries of the political community wrongly exclude some who are entitled to representation? Do the community’s decision rules accord equal voice in public and fair representation in public decision-making to all members?’ (2010, p. 18). Because globalisation has extended the community of those affected by decisions, corporations and governments well beyond national borders, she sees the Keynesian/Westphalian frame as even potentially becoming an instrument of repression. This is because ‘it partitions political space in ways that block many who are poor and despised from challenging the forces that oppress them’ (Fraser, 2007, p. 254). The framing of justice within nation states means that ‘among those shielded from the reach of justice are more powerful predator states and transnational private powers.’ (2007, p. 254). If this misframing and misrepresentation are not addressed, there is no capacity to address many of the most pressing issues of maldistribution and misrecognition. Thus, for Fraser, there are three key elements to social justice: distribution (and its antithesis, maldistribution), recognition (and its antithesis, misrecognition) and representation (with its opposite, misrepresentation).
ISBN: 9781138087385
Appears in Collections:Career guidance for social justice : contesting neoliberalism

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