Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Gurveer Shaan Dhillon

Advisor Role

Author

Abstract

Social Justice (SJ) is an organizing principle of contemporary community psychology (CP); however, the concept and understanding of social justice in community psychology is undertheorized and narrow. Specifically, the concept of distributive justice, which has been a popular notion of social justice in community psychology discourse, does not translate well into transformative action. In order to address this issue, the research uses a qualitative approach to explore the understanding of social justice from the perspectives of worker-members of 5 worker cooperatives in Ontario, with the aim to contribute to an understanding of SJ that has transformative implications. A worker cooperative is an autonomous businesses that is democratically owned and operated and developed with the intent to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of its members and community. Worker cooperatives were selected due to their engagement in practices of social justice as part of their pursuit for social change. The findings suggest that worker-members understand social justice as transformative action and they identified the capitalist labour market, as well as aspects of the worker cooperative model, as being a challenge that prevents them from living the value of SJ. Based on these findings, the research provides community psychologists with an exemplar of SJ practice that has transformative implications in the context of enterprise. Further, it may be beneficial for CP to incorporate people who are engaged in practices of social justice, such as members of worker cooperatives, in formulating a theory of SJ that has transformative implications.

Convocation Year

2016

Convocation Season

Spring