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Justice in Society

Justice in Society

2nd edition

By Matthew Ball and Belinda Carpenter


Front cover image: Hundreds of thousands of people take part in the Women’s March in Washington DC on 21 January 2017 to protest US President Donald Trump a day after he took office (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images).

Australia has always made claims to being a just and fair society. It is a land of opportunity, where anyone can make it, and where mateship rather than class underpins social relations. Why, then, do certain groups of people continue to experience the worst forms of injustice in our society? Why is it that our criminal justice system is host to the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our community? And why do these injustices continue, despite numerous attempts by researchers and activists to address them?

By exploring the ways in which we think about justice in Australian society, this book considers these questions. The authors analyse the contributions of political philosophy and sociology and examine how their ideas have come to dominate discussion on issues ranging from asylum seeking to homophobic violence. By examining the common assumptions about justice and injustice that underpin these discussions, this book also charts a course between and beyond these debates, and seeks to engage, challenge, and offer new possibilities for achieving justice in Australian society.

Fully updated and expanded, the second edition of Justice in Society features two new chapters looking at the lives of transgender people and disabled people. The book continues its coverage of contemporary social issues such as homelessness, mental illness, and Indigenous policing. Each issue is placed in its historical, social, and cultural context, and linked to local, national, and global debates. Such analyses examine the broader implications of these social, criminological, and legal issues for those excluded from justice in Australian society.




Chapter 1 – Justice and Injustice: Stories about Society
Chapter 2 – Space, Place, and Time: Stories about Ourselves
Chapter 3 – Class, Race, and Sex: Stories about Difference


Chapter 4 – Poverty, Power, and Justice
Chapter 5 – Women, Difference, and Justice
Chapter 6 – Transgender People, Binaries, and Justice
Chapter 7 – Indigenous Australians, Othering, and Justice
Chapter 8 – Sexuality, Normalisation, and Justice
Chapter 9 – Disabilities, Diverse Embodiment, and Justice
Chapter 10 – Young People, Responsibility, and Justice


Chapter 11 – Criminal Law, Equality, and Justice
Chapter 12 – Punishment, Treatment, and Justice
Chapter 13 – Human Rights, Citizenship, and Justice



Reviews of previous edition:

The authors of Justice in Society challenge the notion of what it means to have a just society. This is done by examining the assumptions that underpin our current understanding of the sources of injustices with a view to examining the nature of justice and injustice.
          … this book makes excellent use of current statistical data as well as recent sociological studies. It also tackles important, current topical legal issues such as mental health problems and sex trafficking. This book is an interesting read and worthwhile for any practitioner or student interested in questions of justice and injustice. Read full review...

Cameron Scott, Law Letter, Law Society of Tasmania, Autumn 2014

Happily, Justice in Society is not a work that throws around [these] weighty concepts with glib abandon. Nor does it try to neatly parcel them as straightforwardly divisible and definable propositions. … In this respect Justice in Society is, refreshingly, a true discussion, with the reader left in many instances to draw their own conclusions based on arguments and well-selected statistics.
          The strength of this book is its targeted and precise discussion of issues highly relevant to the way our society is evolving. It is only a slender work but the arguments, or the “questioning of assumptions”, as the book states, is done with an impressive brevity given the breadth and complexity of the issues addressed.
          The principle, and the book, is salutary. ... In this respect, a book that poses the question of justice and provokes an answer, instead of delivering it, is to be applauded. Read full review...

Benjamin Dighton, Hearsay, July 2013, 63


Publishing 28 February 2019
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760021979
Australian RRP $69.95
International Price $65.00
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Criminology & Policing - Justice Studies
Criminology & Policing - Criminology
Human Rights & Civil Liberties
Social Studies

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