From privileged irresponsibility to shared responsibility for social injustice: the contributions of Joan Tronto and Iris Marion Young to critical pedagogies of privilege
Pease, B, From privileged irresponsibility to shared responsibility for social injustice: the contributions of Joan Tronto and Iris Marion Young to critical pedagogies of privilege, The Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work, Routledge, C Morley, P Ablett, C Noble and S Cowden (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 165-175. ISBN 9781351002042 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]
Social workers who are committed to the critical tradition need to critically reflect on their own positioning in systems of inequality. Consequently, one of the key challenges facing critical social work educators is how to encourage social work students, who are members of privileged groups, to acknowledge their privilege and their complicity in the oppression of others. This chapter outlines a transformational model for a critical pedagogy of the privileged that is informed by two critical social theorists, Joan Tronto and Iris Marion Young. Tronto has coined the term ‘privileged irresponsibility’ to describe the process by which members of privileged groups expect others to care for them without any acknowledgement. Such a process allows them to maintain their privileged positioning in the social order and to be able to ignore the needs of others. Similarly, Young demonstrates how structures of inequality are reproduced by the complicity of individuals who are beneficiaries of social injustice. She challenges the neoliberal framework of responsibility which disconnects the perpetrators of abusive practices from their historical and social context. Tronto and Young provide new insights into ways of challenging social injustice and have important contributions to make to transformative pedagogies for social work.