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Justice in Society

Justice in Society

By Belinda Carpenter and Matthew Ball


Cover artwork : Occupy protestors during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus, University of California in November 2011.
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/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 is it, then, that our criminal justice system is host to the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our community? Why do certain groups of people continue to experience the worst forms of injustice in our society? 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 the wider Australian society, this book considers these questions. As disciplines that have the most to say about justice and injustice, it analyses the contributions of political philosophy and sociology, and examines how their ideas have come to dominate discussion on issues ranging from asylum seeking to homophobic violence. By examining the shared 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 justice in Australian society.

Relevant contemporary social issues like sex trafficking, homelessness, mental illness and Indigenous policing are examined throughout, placed in their historical, social and cultural context, and linked to local, national and global debates. Such analyses examine the broader implications of these criminological, social and legal issues for those excluded from justice in Australian society.


Introduction - Justice in Society  

Part I Thinking About Justice

Justice and Injustice: Stories About Society
Space, Place and Time: Stories about Ourselves
Class, Race and Sex: Stories about Difference

Part 2 Justice and the Self

Poverty, Power and Justice
Women, Difference and Justice
Indigenous Australians, Othering and Justice
Sexuality, Normalisation and Justice
Young People, Responsibility and Justice

Part 3 Responding to Injustice

Criminal Law, Equality and Justice
Punishment, Treatment and Justice
Human Rights, Empathy and Justice
Citizenship, Belonging and Justice


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


Law Letter, Autumn 2014


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Published 6 November 2012
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862878952
Australian RRP $59.95
International Price $55.00
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Criminology & Policing - Justice Studies
Criminology & Policing - Criminology
Human Rights & Civil Liberties
Social Studies

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