Social Justice Theoretical Constructs And Social Justice Term Paper

Social Justice Theoretical Constructs and Social Justice

What does it mean to say that theory can influence and shape racist, classist, and sexist notions of people, groups, and societies?

Theoretical constructs, the text by Finn & Jacobson (2003) tells us, are highly influenced by prevailing political, cultural and social hierarchies. Accordingly, those theories of sociological order which ultimately are accepted as organic and naturally occurring are often tied into certain pointedly hegemonic imperatives. Finn & Jacobson point out that 'theory' is often the insidious euphemism employed to justify the demeaning impulses of colonialism. Here, scholarly objectivity is claimed as the justification for practicing the exploitation, anthropological deconstruction and democratization of native populations all over the world. According to our primary text, "in many ways, indigenous peoples have been oppressed by theory. Outsider understandings and assumptions have guided the probing into 'the way our origins have been examined, our histories recounted, our arts analysed, our cultures dissected, measured and torn apart . . . ' [the scholar quoted here] recognizes the power of theory in crafting social reality and making claims about reality." (Finn & Jacobson, p. 165)

In this regard, the use of 'theory' as a way of justifying subjugation of peoples lacking the scholarly breeding to object on intellectual terms functions as a sort of weaponization of education. Such ideologies have served to justify the oppression and even the genocide of the 'backward' and 'savage' natives that populated South America, North American and Caribbean before the arrival of the European monarchies. This sweeping example, which would lead to the eradication in just a few hundred years of the languages, religions, cultures and peoples who populated these lands for countless...

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As a consequence, the orientation of the ruling European monarchies toward highly patriarchal, aristocratic and racialist societies would help to extend validity to sociological theories driven by widespread instances of oppression and social injustice.
2. Why is it important to think of theories as value-laden constructs?

As the discussion by Finn & Jacobson reveals, it is a critical error to divorce any given theory from its point of origin. Such is to say that any theory must inherently be understood within its context and with an awareness of its source. Whether scientifically founded, sociologically constructed or fabricated out of thin air, a theory will come with inbuilt motives, intentions and biases. It is the responsibility of the observer to maintain an objective air of distance from any theory and to avoid accepting such assertions on face value. As our text tells, "Patricia Lengermann and Jill Niebrugge-Brantley (1998, p. 2) describe theory as a 'lens that directs the eye towards a given reality so that one focuses on some of its features while filtering out others." (p. 166) This denotes that some level of decision-making and selective attention will have informed any given theory and this selectivity must denote some inherent value system.

3. What is positionality, and why is this concept important to the understanding of theory?

While much of the perspective contained in this discussion cautions us against the imposition of theory, particularly posturing as fact. In light of this, the mention of positionality is particularly important because it highlights the opportunity that each of us has as a discerning human being to acknowledge and consider the theories available to us without allowing them to define our reality. Because each of…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

Finn, J.L. & Jacobson, M. (2003). Just Practice: Social Justice Approach To Social Work. Eddie Bowers Pub Co.


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