Educational psychologists as ‘dissenting social justice voices’

Daniela Mercieca, Duncan Mercieca

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This philosophical paper locates the educational psychologist’s (EP) involvement in addressing social justice in practice. It uses some philosophical ideas from Jacques Rancière, particularly the idea of the distribution of the sensible and dissensus, to help answer the research question of how systems that are aimed at contributing to a socially just society can limit social justice itself. Whilst the argument of this paper is applicable to educational psychologists internationally, this paper is situated within a Scottish context.
This paper uses a vignette from a daily experience of the EP to draw out a philosophical reading of the EP’s involvement in the narrative. The aim of this paper is to gives examples of how structures that are aimed at supporting social justice often position the EPs within these systems so that thinking, being and doing are shaped according to the structures that they inhabit. The establishment of such structures and discourses have limited the meaning and implementation of social justice. This means that the identity of both those requiring the involvement of the EP, as well as the EP and other professionals is determined in terms of their ‘proper place’ and their activity is determined in terms of its ‘proper function’. The paper argues that EPs can interrupt the procedural flow and provide a dissenting voice which can ultimately lead to social justice in ways that the normal flow of procedure does not.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022
EventScottish Education Research Association 2022: Reconnecting educational research, policy and practice - University of West of Scotland, Ayr
Duration: 23 Nov 202225 Nov 2022 (Conference website)


ConferenceScottish Education Research Association 2022
Abbreviated titleSERA 2022
Internet address


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