Social Justice in Times of Crisis and Hope

Young People, Well-being and the Politics of Education

by Shane Duggan (Volume editor) Emily Gray (Volume editor) Peter James Kelly (Volume editor) Kirsty Finn (Volume editor) Jessica Gagnon (Volume editor)
©2019 Textbook VI, 250 Pages
Series: Global Studies in Education, Volume 34


The first two decades of the 21st century have been characterised by conflict, displacement, growing economic insecurity and austerity. Increasing social polarisation has meant that contemporary societies are becoming more unequal with smaller segments of the population having access to the most wealth. Ongoing conflicts around the world and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe has only intensified calls for justice, equity, compassion and understanding. We live in times of despair and conflict, but also times of hope and action.
Social Justice in Times of Crisis and Hope examines the possibilities and consequences of the relationship between young people, well-being, education and social justice in times of crisis and hope. Drawing together contributions from around the globe, the chapters examine the role of young people in contemporary social movements, the kinds of demands that are being made by the world’s young people and the spaces within which they are making such demands. Authors engage with notions of justice and well-being, what this means in the contemporary moment and for whom. They interrogate the politics of increasingly global education to think about the limits and possibilities, challenges and opportunities, for education to play a role in delivering on the promise of social justice.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction: Neo-Liberal Capitalism in Crisis: Individualisation and the Problem of the “Social” in Social Justice (Peter Kelly)
  • Part One: Access, Experience and the “Problem” of Social Justice in Educational Pathways
  • Chapter One: Coping with Higher Education Expectations: Wellbeing and Prestige-related Stress in Medicine and Law (Anne-Sofie Nyström / Carolyn Jackson)
  • Chapter Two: Is University for Everybody? Deconstructing the Pathways to Access Higher Education in Catalonia (Alejandro Montes / Aina Tarabini)
  • Chapter Three: Social Justice and Education in Egypt: The Case of Access to Higher Education (Amal Abou-Setta)
  • Chapter Four: Fixing Futures: Politics, Citizenship, and Aspirational Policy Interventions in Chicago Public Schools (Shane Duggan)
  • Part Two: Identities/Intersections and the Spatial Character of Social Justice
  • Chapter Five: Negotiating Crisis and Hope through Everyday Im/mobilities: Theorising Wellbeing and Belonging for Live-at-Home Students in an English University (Kirsty Finn)
  • Chapter Six: Designated “Dangerous”: Student and Academic Dissent against the Prevent Duty in the United Kingdom and the Professor Watchlist in the United States (Jessica Gagnon)
  • Chapter Seven: Youth, Peripherality and the Mobility Discourse (Valentina Cuzzocrea)
  • Part Three: Community, Citizenship, and the “Boundaries” of Social Justice
  • Chapter Eight: “Spreading Expecto Patronuses”: Community-based Arts and Pathways to the Cultural Industries (Navid Sabet)
  • Chapter Nine: “Love” and Slippery Borders in New Peruvian Cities (Jasmin Immonen)
  • Chapter Ten: Australian Educational Policy, School Funding, and Equity: A Neoliberal Governmentality Study (Matthew P. Sinclair / Emily M. Gray)
  • Chapter Eleven: Critical and Creative Young People: Making the Individual Responsible for the Management of Social Change (James Goring)
  • Part Four: Gender, Sexualities, Violence, and the Challenges for Social Justice
  • Chapter Twelve: Safe Schools, Marriage Equality, and LGBTQ Youth Suicide (Simon Copland / Mary Lou Rasmussen)
  • Chapter Thirteen: Seeking Justice for LGBTI Young People in Australian Schools: The Queer Relationship Between Safe Schools and Marxism (Roz Ward)
  • Chapter Fourteen: Tackling Sexual Violence in Higher Education: Reflections and Learnings from Basque Country (Marta Luxán-Serrano / Jokin Azpiazu-Carballo / Mila Amurrio-Velez)
  • Contributor Biographies
  • Series index

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Introduction: Neo-Liberal Capitalism in Crisis

Individualisation and the Problem of the “Social” in Social Justice


RMIT University, Australia


Every year the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) publishes its Global Trends survey. The UNHCR’s 2016 survey (UNHCR, 2016) is troubling reading, as many such surveys have been in the 21st century.

According to the UNHCR (2016): “Over the past two decades, the global population of forcibly displaced people has grown substantially from 33.9 million in 1997 to 65.6 million in 2016, and it remains at a record high.” Much of this doubling of the world’s population of displaced persons has occurred in the last 5 or so years, and has been “driven mainly by the Syrian conflict along with other conflicts in the region such as in Iraq and Yemen, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa including Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan.” Many of these 65.6 million individuals “were forcibly displaced” as a consequence of “persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations.” Other headline numbers from the survey include:

10.3 Million Newly Displaced

During the year, 10.3 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution. This included 6.9 million individuals displaced within the borders of their own countries and 3.4 million new refugees and new asylum-seekers. ← 1 | 2 →

20 New Displacements Every Minute

The number of new displacements was equivalent to 20 people being forced to flee their homes every minute of 2016, or 28,300 every day.

51% Children

Children below 18 years of age constituted about half of the refugee population in 2016, as in recent years. Children make up an estimated 31 per cent of the total world population (UNHCR, 2016).

The EUobserver describes itself as a not-for-profit, independent online newspaper, that has been published in Brussels since 2000. It claims that it supports “European democracy by giving people the information they need to hold the EU establishment to account.” Writing in the EUobserver in 2016, Alex Godson (2016) suggested that “Populism, extremism and euroscepticism are haunting Europe, creating a tense atmosphere in which fear, hate, anger and anxiety generate a climate of angst.” Referencing the rise of populist and extremist political parties such as AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) in Germany, Ukip (UK Independence Party) in Great Britain, and FN (Front National) in France, Godson identifies a number of indicators of/for this fear and hate:

Niall McCarthy (2017), writing in Forbes magazine—the irony here is of the bitter kind—suggests that the “scale of financial inequality across the world is simply mind boggling.” Referencing a report by the massive international banking and financial services company Credit Suisse—more of the bitter type of irony—McCarthy points out that: ← 2 | 3 →

Thomas Piketty—of Capital in the Twenty-First Century fame—and his colleagues at the World Inequality Lab provide another perspective on these “mind boggling,” and growing, levels of disparity between the tiny percentage of the world’s population who own and earn very much, and the billions of people who own and earn very little (Piketty, 2014). In the most recent World Inequality Report 2018 Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman (Alvaredo et al., 2018) cover much of the ground outlined in places such as Forbes. However, they also suggest that inequalities, and the massive disparities in wealth that trouble so many at this time, are not universal. Indeed, part of their work is to point to, and map, inequalities in spatial and political/policy terms. And to highlight how, in some countries, disparities are marked, and in other countries these inequalities are less marked—both in overall terms and in relative terms. For example, in:

If the absolute and relative disparities and inequalities in wealth distribution are not universal, why are some countries more unequal than others?


VI, 250
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (May)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Vienna, Oxford, Wien, 2019. VI, 250 pp., 2 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Shane Duggan (Volume editor) Emily Gray (Volume editor) Peter James Kelly (Volume editor) Kirsty Finn (Volume editor) Jessica Gagnon (Volume editor)

Shane Duggan is Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Education at RMIT University. He examines the relationship between education and work in the context of digital transformation. His first book, Impossible Machines, investigates young people’s lives, networked technologies and the future of work. Emily Gray has a PhD in educational research from Lancaster University in the UK. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at RMIT University, Australia. Her publications include refereed journal articles, book chapters and the edited collection Queer Teachers, Identity and Performativity. Peter Kelly is a professor in the School of Education, RMIT University. He has published extensively on young people, the practice of youth studies and social theory, including: Working in Jamie’s Kitchen: Salvation, Passion and Young Workers and The Self as Enterprise. Kirsty Finn is a sociologist of higher education, with an interest in educational (im)mobilities as these relate to everyday life, relationships, well-being, and citizenship and belonging. She is the author of two books: Personal Life, Young Women and Higher Education and Student Mobilities in Higher Education. Jessica Gagnon is a sociologist of higher education whose research is primarily focused on inequalities and social justice in higher education, especially underrepresented students’ experiences. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth.


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258 pages