Narrative and social justice from the perspective of governmentality

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The use of narrative research is often informed by a commitment to social justice on the part of the researcher. An example of this literature, Morwenna Griffiths’ Action for Social Justice in Education: Fairly Different (2003), is taken here to illustrate the understanding of power and the way in which the relationship between theory and practice is conceived. The language and tone of such texts illustrate the role of a certain inheritance of psychology in the construction of subjectivity, which shapes our understanding and conduct of the personal and professional. This, and the way in which the ‘reflective practitioner’ forms part of broader contemporary understandings of the self within liberal political rationality, is discussed with reference to work informed by the thought of Michel Foucault in order to provide a critique of the stated objectives of narrative research and the accompanying agenda of social justice. It is argued that without further attention being given within such work both to what is meant by narrative and social justice, and to assumptions regarding the nature of the operation of power, its emancipatory objectives are undermined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-572
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2009


  • Social Justice
  • Education
  • Governmentality


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