Exploring Social Justice in


Browne, L. (2010). As UK policy strives to make access to higher education easier for all, is discrimination in employment practice still apparent? Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 62(3), 313–326.


This article deconstructs hiring policies across the HE sector in the U.K. in terms of access and opportunity with the aim to assess whether or not staff recruitment practices are socially and culturally biased. According to the existing research, social and economic privileges continue to exert a powerful influence on academic success and employability prospects. Over the last decade, the expansion of HE has disproportionately benefited those from higher social classes. This is despite concerted attempts to widen access through various diversity and inclusion initiatives. For Browne, inequalities in degree outcome continue to persist for two principal reasons: (1) the underlying presumption that one’s credentials (cultural capital) and occupational access (social capital) are interlinked; and (2) the problematic focus on individual capital, qualities and skills as evinced in the linguistic shift from employment to employability. Using a comparative case-study of recruitment practices used at the end of two graduate internships in financial services, the author maintains that the growing number of student enrollments from working-class backgrounds is symptomatic of a credentials inflation rather than the result of increased mobility.

In an examination of published policy documents, textbooks, and other educational resources currently used in Irish secondary schools, Bryan problematises the prevailing view of intercultural education as being the primary mechanism through which racism and racial inequality can be ameliorated in Ireland. As a crucial addition to the existing literature, which predominantly focuses on teacher responses to immigration and ethnic diversity, this article explores the politics undergirding the existing curricula. To wit, Bryan illustrates how discussions around race and racism are framed in nationalistic terms, and the consequences of this framing. As follows, Bryan illustrates how ‘diversity’ has become something to be managed and contained within intercultural education discourses; and unsettles the prevailing view of BAME students as being new to the presumed white, settled Irish community. This ‘otherness’ is reinforced through multiple misrepresentations in the texts, which serve to reproduce rather than contest racism and racist ideologies. Bryan thus concludes that “the implementation of intercultural education in schools fulfills a political function of providing an educational palliative to minorities while… muting consideration of alternative policy responses that would yield genuine egalitarian outcomes and effects for racialised minorities in Ireland”.

Cerezo, A., McWhirter, B. T., Peña, D., Valdez, M., & Bustos, C. (2013). Giving Voice: Utilizing Critical Race Theory to Facilitate Consciousness of Racial Identity for Latina/o College Students. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 5(3), 1–24.

This article describes the development and implementation of the Latina/o Educational Equity Project or LEEP, which is a pilot programme designed to facilitate the growth of a critical consciousness among Latina/o college students in relation to race and racism in Higher Education. Despite being the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., Latina/o students have the lowest third-level graduation rates in comparison to Asians, Pacific Islanders, Whites, and Black/African-Americans. Moreover, much of the existing literature has tended to focus on the cultural values and familial attachments of Latina/o students rather than the ways in which the institutional contexts and cultural environment of HE works to preclude Latina/o students from graduating. And even less has been done to explore the development of programmes designed to support Latino/a students in these settings. Through LEEP, the authors sought to (a) develop a program grounded in the specific needs of Latina/o students; and (b) ‘give voice’ to community members in the development and delivery of the program. The course contents thusly focused on (i) examinations of race and racism within university structures, practices, and discourses; (ii) challenging the dominant ideology that claims universities are objective, meritocratic, color blind, racially neutral and equal opportunity providers; (iii) commit to social justice and praxis; (iv) honour experiential knowledge from lived experiences; and (v) provide historical context from an interdisciplinary perspective.