4 Civic engagement and social justice Introduction Public policy in a variety of countries, Ireland included, has recognised the value of some level of deeper citizen participation in democratic and civic life. At the same time, civil society organisations have increasingly asserted the importance of their participation in policy-­making processes. It was in this context that the Irish government clearly stated that ‘There is a need to create a more participatory democracy where active citizenship is fostered’ defining participation ‘as an exchange between

in Challenging times, challenging administration
Open Access (free)
The place of equal opportunity

positions from which they could be obtained simply because they had less natural talent than those who succeeded. 33 For a sophisticated recent defence of this idea, see D. Miller, Principles of Social Justice (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1999), ch. 8. 34 See Rawls, A Theory of Justice

in Political concepts

3 Exploring the meaning of social justice Introduction What is evident in any discussion on social justice is the lack of agreement on what the concept actually means. Indeed, the notions of justice, equity, equality, rights are contested in many different ways – ideologically, legally, historically, to name but a few. Inevitably this poses problems for those within public administration for whom the challenge of embracing a social justice agenda may appear bewildering and unattractive. In the first two chapters a range of challenges confronting contemporary

in Challenging times, challenging administration

5 Peace via social justice and/or security Roger Mac Ginty and Paula Banerjee Introduction There are, of course, multiple approaches used by states, international organisations and others to achieve and maintain peace. Prominent among the approaches are those that prioritise security, and there are also approaches that see social justice and development as a driver of more pacific ways of dealing with human problems. While it is possible to conceive of these approaches stretched along a continuum, with pure security approaches at one end and pure social justice

in Cultures of governance and peace

7 Social justice and public administration in practice Social justice in practice Introduction Having explored some of the broader issues of social justice understanding, disposition and capacity in the last chapter, this chapter now moves on to look at a number of more specific cases, which provide some indications of how social justice is viewed within public administration. Each case study addresses a particular theme as well as exploring a specific empirical experience. Firstly, an instance of the use of agencies as a vehicle to achieve social justice

in Challenging times, challenging administration

8 Towards a social justice agenda in public administration Introduction The discussions presented thus far in this book converge into a single, powerful, though insufficiently heard argument, namely, that social justice in Ireland or elsewhere cannot be achieved if the machinery of the state, the public administration system, does not explicitly place a commitment to social justice at its core. Irrespective of the strength of advocacy of civil society organisations or of the occasional impetus provided by individual political leaders, ambitions for social

in Challenging times, challenging administration

6 Assessing the state of social justice in Irish public administration The state of social justice Introduction Earlier chapters have presented the various arguments put forward to justify a more active role for public administration in designing and promoting a social justice agenda. Having articulated at least some of ways in which social justice might be conceived, this chapter now turns its attention to exploring the state of social justice in Irish public administration. Inevitably, given the size and scale of the public sector, this does not take the form

in Challenging times, challenging administration

5 Social justice and economic efficiency 5.1 Introduction: enter the economists Surveying the ideology of the British Left in 1933, a young economist called Hugh Gaitskell identified an important philosophical and strategic cleavage between two different types of socialist. For Marxists, he wrote, ‘the transition to socialism’ was ‘not something which can be effected by the mere appeal to reason’, being instead ‘an inevitable process of historical development’. In contrast, for the ‘mild tempered evolutionary idealists’ of ‘the British labour movement’, it was

in Equality and the British Left

2 The role of public administration in promoting and protecting social justice Role of public administration in social justice Introduction For some, the notion of articulating a more specific and clearly constructed role for public administration in promoting social justice is unnecessary. Arguments about the essentially unbiased and neutral role of public administration are advanced as a means of countering calls for a more activist approach in favour of social justice. Accompanying this are perspectives that locate responsibility for social justice within

in Challenging times, challenging administration
The role of public administration in producing social justice in Ireland
Series: Irish Society

This book explores the relationship between public administration and social justice in Ireland. It argues that public administration, at a variety of levels, is challenged to consider its unique and potentially far reaching role in designing and delivering social justice outcomes. Locating this discussion within recent social and economic events in Ireland, it draws on a variety of historical and contemporary sources to stimulate reflection on social justice and its relationship with public administration and public policy. Building on this, the book explores some of the recent policy and practice of public administration institutions, presenting the views of those within the administrative system as well as those who closely engage with it on issues of justice, poverty and social inclusion. From this it concludes that while some isolated examples of good practice exist, there is little evidence to indicate that the public administration system, now or in the past, sees social justice as one of its central responsibilities. This book is original in focusing on the role of the administrative system as a social justice actor in its own right, with its own dispositions and value systems. In taking this approach the book establishes a conceptual and practical justification for public administration to be proactive in pursuing social justice outcomes and presents a series of conclusions pointing towards ways in which a more active, justice oriented, public administration could be fostered.