Explain how the notion of social harm is connected with ideas of social justice.
In order to explain how the notion of social harm is connected with ideas of social justice it is important to identify how these concepts are defined in order to use supporting evidence.
There are many forms of social harm, ranging from physical harm of violence, rape, child abuse which show the entanglement between harm and crime, and other forms of social harm which are more ambiguous arising from working environments.
Social justice evokes various connotations, such as freedom, equality, and having a fair distribution of resources to name a few. Individuals in society need to feel free from harms in ...view middle of the document...
However there is the suggestion here that people need to take personal responsibility for themselves to overcome social injustice by developing their qualities and skills by engaging in paid work rather than relying on ‘handouts’. Therefore there needs to be a balance of responsibility between the government implementing support schemes and the individuals taking part in order to ensure social justice and avoid social harm.
The act of caring for and being cared for by others is a source of satisfaction and well-being by the altruistic nature of the profession for many, but there are many tensions due to the many that face this due to unfortunate circumstances. The carer is contributing in the process of social justice, but often at the cost of financial resources and recognition. The receiver of care is having their needs of well-being met but on the other hand are losing their independence of looking after themselves and feeling to be a burden on others. For example, in caring for a sick relative.
“The concept of care seems to many disabled people a tool through which others are able to dominate and manage our lives.” (Cited in Widdowson, p.75, Wood, quoted in Barnes, 2006, p.147)
This therefore shows how social harm is connected with ideas of social justice. There are also more obvious social harms associated with the caring profession. For example a World Heath Organization in 2002 demonstrated the reality of abuse for many receivers of care whereby workers abuse their position of the caregiver by abusing, neglecting or exploiting the very vulnerable. This report was from conducting qualitative research from interviews. However, the report also described the social harm similarly experienced by care workers by abusive behaviour from patients, low pay and the lack of recognition from working in the profession.
The profession of care work is traditionally viewed as a natural vocation for women, fit to relatively marginalised groups like working-class and ethnic minority women. It would seem that for social justice to be achieved, the perception of individuals in care work need to change. Care work is a vital element of social justice; a decent society with an effective government needs to provide caregivers and receivers with capabilities to result in well-being for both parties. There will always be the potential for social harm due to the often sensitivity of the practice in some circumstances, however, those who campaign for social rights empower those who are powerless to promote individual well-being, to prevent social harms.
Paid work is also a focus of social harm, and it is argued again that working-class, ethic minorities, and women suffer the most. It is argued that paid work promotes social equality and well-being but this depends on the type of work involved, as Amartya Sen would suggest, work is good for individual well-being if the employment promotes worker’s capabilities and is ‘decent’ work.
“Decent work is...