Journal article

Metaphor as a methodological tool: identifying teachers’ social justice dispositions across diverse secondary school settings

C Mills, T Molla, T Gale, R Cross, S Parker, C Smith

British Journal of Sociology of Education | Carfax Publishing Ltd. | Published : 2017


This article investigates the social justice dispositions of teachers and principals in secondary schools as inferred from their metaphoric expressions. Drawing on a Bourdieuian account of disposition, our focus is the use of metaphor as a methodological tool to identify and reveal these otherwise latent forces within our data. Our analysis shows evidence of redistributive, recognitive and activist conceptions of social justice. We argue that these three social justice dispositions may be insufficient to meaningfully address persisting inequalities in the school system and that a capability-based social justice disposition – absent in our data – is needed. We conclude by highlighting that: s..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Australian Research Council for its financial support of the project 'Social Justice Dispositions Informing Teachers' Pedagogy' (DP130101297) and the generous participation of teachers and principals. They also acknowledge the Queensland and Victorian Departments of Education for their support to conduct the research. The research team included Trevor Gale (Chief Investigator), Russell Cross (Chief Investigator), Carmen Mills (Chief Investigator), Stephen Parker (Research Fellow), Tebeje Molla (Research Fellow) and Catherine Smith (PhD candidate).