Emancipatory Praxis: A Social-Justice Approach to Equality Work

Annette Coburn, Sinéad Gormally

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter will explore the concepts of social justice and equality when working with young people and within community development practice. Although justice in itself is a contested notion (Capeheart and Milovanovic 2007), this chapter acknowledges it is closely interlinked with human rights and equality. Social justice is further about identifying and attempting to address structural disadvantage, discrimination and inequality by refocusing on process, participation and collective rights. Utilizing practice-based examples which have supported the promotion and facilitation of consciousness-raising and the practical skills used to challenge identified injustices, we attempt to refocus on the reasons we work alongside those who are often the most silenced within societies. This chapter draws on the value base of equality and social justice in youth work and community development practices (Smith 2002, Davies 2005, Young 2006, Jeffs and Smith 2010, Taylor 2010) in order to support, defend and rearticulate a social and democratic purpose for emancipatory practice. In promoting reflective discussion, it is our intention to examine contemporary practices and the extent to which they raise consciousness among young people and community members.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocially Just, Radical Alternatives for Education and Youth Work Practice
Subtitle of host publicationRe-Imagining Ways of Working with Young People
EditorsCharlie Cooper, Sinéad Gormally, Gill Hughes
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-39359-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Social work
  • Education Policy and Politics
  • Education, general
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Administration, Organization and Leadership


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