Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jeffrey Ian Ross
Defining social justice is difficult. Among the important writers and scholars who have addressed this subject are Aristotle, Plato, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, and John Rawls. These thinkers appreciate the variable meanings of justice and have argued variously that social justice is one of many different types of justice, such as criminal, distributive, procedural, and retributive. In this entry, social justice refers to an equitable distribution of benefits available in a society to all individuals and groups and concerted attempts to minimize the suffering of others. In general, social justice is understood to mean the achievement of widespread fairness in a community. It focuses on the collectivity rather than on the individual. Social justice seeks to protect the rights of all citizens by advocating fair wages, affordable health care, improved access to education, and proper and safe work and living conditions. It includes such issues as the handling of criminals, ...