A Philosophical and Epistemological Foundation for Social Justice Pedagogy via the Work of Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Pierre Bourdieu


Social justice pedagogy has become a fixture in higher education. More and more disciplines in the academy are incorporating the ideas and claims of social justice into their pedagogical practices. While social justice discourse has become an assumed and prevalent feature of the modern college classroom, little work has been done to ground the claims of social justice pedagogy and provide a philosophical and epistemological foundation for its employment. This article takes up that challenge. First, it gives a clear and robust definition of social justice pedagogy. Second, it offers a philosophical and epistemological foundation for its usage via the work of Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Pierre Bourdieu. Specifically, this article highlights in reference to social justice pedagogy, Arendt's articulation of the concept of 'judgement', Levinas' notion of 'responsibility for the other', and several of Bourdieu's ideas associated with his definition and explication of 'cultural capital'. Finally, this article offers several ways instructors can employ a grounded social justice pedagogy in their classrooms.

Author Information
Patrick Sawyer, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: Teaching Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon