Social justice education, moral agency, and the subject of resistance

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This paper explores the concept of white complicity and provides illustrations of how traditional conceptions of moral agency support the denial of such complicity. Judith Butler's conception of subjectivity is then examined with the aim of assessing its usefulness as a foundation for social justice pedagogy. Butler's conception of subjectivity is of interest because it offers insights into how dominant group identities are unintentionally complicit in the perpetuation of hegemonic social norms. While Butler's conception of subjectivity is shown to be useful in understanding white complicity, questions around the notion of agency that follow from such a conception of subjectivity are raised and briefly discussed. Finally, I show the implications of Butler's conception of self and agency for social justice pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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