Ideas of social justice are both changeable and contestable. These ideas differ between individuals and societies. The term social justice is ambiguous but can briefly be summed up as - social justice involves having the capabilities to voice feelings and opinions but also for these to be heard. To do so, there has to be an active participation within society in order to shape it. In short, social justice focuses on the individual and their values and beliefs. Social harm refers to the harm or social injury caused by nation states, corporations and society. It focuses on particular actions within society that may cause unrest such racism, discrimination, inequality or poverty because these actions produce social exclusion for certain groups. To assess the connection between social harm and social justice it is important to look at many of the key concepts surrounding both. This will be done through case studies surrounding occupational harm specifically the migrant workers working at Morecambe Bay, the effects of hurricane Katrina and the rise of tent cities in California. Each of these examples will show how the notion of social harm is in many ways, entwined with ideas of social justice.
Occupational injuries and deaths are becoming a major social problem globally. This type of harm is a significant source of personal suffering (Widdowson, p81). Many multinational companies have taken their manufacturing work to third world countries to exploit the cheap labour and lack of health and safety measures to reduce their production costs whilst maximising profit. An alternative view are local companies using migrant workers to inflate their profits. This was the case of Ali Qin at Morecombe Bay. This personal account reflected the number of migrants drowning due to poor health and safety regulations. This was not because of the countries laws, but because of the companies’ exploitation of illegal work (Widdowson, p80). This type of behaviour...
References: Mooney, G. (2008), ‘Problem’ populations, ‘Problem’ places, pp98-125, in Newman, J and Yeates, N. (eds), Social Justice: Welfare, Crime and Society. Milton Keynes, The Open University.
The Open University (May 2015), Week Four – Introduction to Block Two, Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=620505 (Accessed: 13 May 2015)
The Open University (May 2015), Week 9 – The globalisation of social justice, Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=620516 (Accessed: 13 May 2015)
Widdowson, B. (2008), ‘Well-being: harm and work’, Newman, J. and Yeates, N. (eds), Social Justice: Welfare, Crime and Society. Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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