What Is a Social Justice Theory?


Diego Sanchez

Social justice theory is an ideology that aims to promote equality and fairness in society. It is a concept that has been debated and developed by many philosophers, sociologists, and activists over the years. In this article, we will explore what social justice theory is, its history, and its relevance in today’s society.

What Is Social Justice Theory?

Social justice theory refers to the idea that all individuals should have equal access to resources and opportunities regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, social class, or any other characteristic. It recognizes that society is not always fair and just and seeks to rectify these inequalities through various means.

The History of Social Justice Theory

The concept of social justice can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome. However, it was during the Enlightenment period in the 18th century that social justice became a more prominent concept. The French Revolution was a turning point for social justice theory as it marked the beginning of a movement towards greater equality.

In the 19th century, philosophers such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed theories on social justice that focused on economic inequality. They argued that capitalism perpetuated inequality and called for a socialist system where resources were distributed more equally.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1960s brought attention to issues such as racial inequality and discrimination. This led to the development of critical race theory which emphasized the importance of recognizing systemic racism in society.

Relevance Today

Social justice remains an important concept in today’s society as there are still many inequalities that exist. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought attention to police brutality against black individuals which highlights the systemic racism that exists within law enforcement.

Issues such as income inequality, gender inequality, and climate change are also areas where social justice theory can be applied. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how access to resources such as healthcare and employment can be unequal based on factors such as race and social class.

The Role of Social Justice Theory

Social justice theory plays an important role in shaping policies and laws that aim to promote equality. It also serves as a framework for individuals and organizations to advocate for change. By recognizing the inequalities that exist in society, social justice theory can help create a more just and equitable world.


In conclusion, social justice theory is an ideology that seeks to promote equality and fairness in society. Its history can be traced back to ancient times, but it has evolved over time to address issues such as economic inequality, racism, and discrimination.

Today, it remains relevant as there are still many inequalities that exist in society. By recognizing these inequalities, we can work towards creating a more just and equitable world for all individuals.