Gary Walsh

Research Title

Does social justice require a ‘socially just’ citizenry

Research Summary

What is the role of school education in producing justice-oriented citizens? How should educational practice and policy account for economic, cultural and political context in these endeavours? This philosophical study aims to explore the relationship between social justice and the civic identities of citizens developed through education.

It is commonly asserted that education is fundamental to the realisation of social justice, yet the role of education in this regard can lack conceptual clarity in theory, policy and practice. Social justice is a contested term with a variety of meanings and implications that change over time. The difference made by schools, educators, pedagogies and curricula in relation to social justice is similarly contested, and it is recognised that the education system itself can perpetuate social inequalities. This thesis examines theories and philosophies of social justice, linking them to citizenship education in the Euro-American tradition. The aim is to provide conceptual clarification of the role of education in strengthening the knowledge base, practices and social arrangements required for justice-oriented citizenship. I embark on a philosophical thought experiment, beginning with the provocation that social justice requires a socially just citizenry; a double helix combining justice-oriented citizenship with the creation and maintenance of a socially just order.


Walsh, G.M. (2020) Challenging the Hero Narrative: Moving towards Reparational Citizenship Education. Societies, Vol.10, No.2. DOI:  


University of Glasgow

College of Social Science PhD Studentship



Scottish Educational Research Association conference, Edinburgh.

Pedagogies of Anger and Hope: emotional responses to injustice and inequality


Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Cardiff.

Can Character Education Contribute to Social Justice?


International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement, Glasgow.

Character Education and Human Flourishing.

Additional Information

Additional roles and responsibilities

Project Assistant: Stevenson Trust for Citizenship (University of Glasgow)


Curriculum for Equity

Hopeful Childhoods