Distribution, Recognition, Representation and Contribution - Social Justice at Micro and Macro Levels in Alternative Education Programs
Our analytical lens combines Fraser’s framework of distribution, recognition and representation with Sayer’s notion of contributive justice. Distribution focuses on the economic dimension of justice: e.g. providing breakfast and transport subsidies for students (at micro level) and funding and sustainability of AEPs at macro level). Recognition addresses the cultural dimension and involves valuing of differences: recognising young people’s strengths (micro) as well as the strengths and innovations of AEPs (macro). Representation, the political dimension, requires that people have the opportunity to make representations on matters that impact on them: enabling ‘youth voice’ and ‘agency’ (micro) and input from AEPs into policy decisions (macro). Finally, we adopt Sayer’s qualitative understanding of ‘contributive justice’ and its relationship to ‘meaningful work’: relevance and authenticity of the curriculum (micro) and the role AEPs are expected and enabled to play in the education of young Australians (macro).
These two sets of analyses draw attention to the multiple injustices associated with disenfranchisement from schooling and the disruption of a young person’s education trajectory. While AEPs provide the context for our research, the paper examines the implications for traditional schools and how they might better meet the diverse needs of young people.