“For us justice is equality – igualtat – égalité”
Social justice is an ambiguous term that depends on context: economic, historic and cultural.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines social justice broadly as “justice at the level of a society or state as regards the possession of wealth, commodities, opportunities, and privileges”.
The well-known academic John Rawls, author of the book A Theory of Justice (1971, 2005) points out that justice is about achieving a fair distribution of resources and freedoms that ensures equal opportunities for everyone, considering specific needs.
Most theorists today agree that social justice goes beyond the economic to incorporate political, cultural, religious, and sexual freedoms, and that we should aim at a humanity liberated from all unjust social, political, and ideological constraints (Bales, 2018).
The development of these ideas has also seen their coronation in official statements and guidelines, spearheaded by the United Nations’ (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This document formally recognized “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” (Bales, 2018)
Bales, S. (2018). Social Justice and Library Work. Newland Park: Chandos Publishing.
Rawls, J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.