Институт социологии
Российской академии наук

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology «Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities»

1021.2 Social Justice in National Contexts: Neoliberalism and Youth Fortunes in the Brics Countries

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45 Location: 707 (MTCC SOUTH BUILDING)

Oral Presentation Mikhail CHERNYSH, Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation

The agenda of social justice is often regarded through the prism of basic principles. John Rawles following in the footsteps of Kant proposed three basic “laws” of social justice – freedom, equality of life chances and social insurance for the underdog. The laws are deducted from the motivations of an average person totally amnesic of his or her past and unaware of his or her cultural or social background. The Kantian logic has been criticized by Amartya Sen who emphasized practical aspects of justice embedded in local social and cultural environments. To understand what is just and what is not in a concrete social environment it is important to address the past. The specific issues of justice that pertain to each country’s conditions poses an important question of whether justice can be understood in universal terms. Contemporary sociology is quite positive that such an agenda exists. The policies of commercialization affect most countries that are integral parts of the global system. These policies encroach on reproduction. The more commercialized is the system of education, the more inequality it generates in each society. The agenda of justice is the highest in the youth cohorts. Education undergoes dramatic change with a rising gap between elite and average credentials. Careers that young people often dream of are frequently thwarted by precarity that plagues modern labor markets. Inequality is often regarded by young people as a societal challenge and is universally treated as a violation of the justice principles. It is not accidental that in Russia in 2011 or 2017 it is the young people that came out into the streets demanding a more just system and a change in policies. The agenda of justice acquires new relevance as the new generation meets with opportunities and limitations, both local and global.

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