Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 49 seconds
I am writing this blogpost because I’m having a mental block and I don’t know what to do with it. I feel like the answer should be obvious to me, but it is not.
I’ve learned and been using Nancy Fraser’s framework/model of social justice that takes into account the economic, cultural and political dimensions of injustice. And it has worked well for me in the past.
Except today, I’m working on something and unpacking how we apply it in different dimensions of learning design, and I’m stuck on something. The economic and political dimensions are relatively straightforward in terms of how we can try to tackle them and redress them in education, especially digital education (e.g. how to design for differences in students’ connectivity, or advocating for institutions ensuring all students get good devices – and the political dimension to nurture student agency for example). The cultural dimension is obvious when race or coloniality are involved, or just culture in general, but I was wondering where things like gender, sexuality, disability and just “personality” are in this model? I know it is intersectional, and often gender inequality or disability can manifest under political power or economic capability, but where would redressing gender injustice/oppression/inequality fall within Fraser’s model? Or does it not? And what about just plain personalities, people with just more dominant personalities that do not fall under being of the dominant race or gender or whatever? I am learning towards placing gender and sexuality under culture, and disability under political, but I’m not sure that’s right, and I have no idea where to place “personality”.
I am having a brain block and I’m not sure if I’m just having a mental moment, or if Fraser’s model is missing something, or if this last one “personality” is just considered random and not part of systemic injustice and therefore… dismissable? It’s not dismissable in a classroom where students have similar economic privilege and race, right? And it’s still worthwhile to consider, since we want all students to succeed, and some learning designs privilege extraversion for example over introversion, or people who thrive on competition versus those who are intimidated by it? Those are not necessarily gender or race or culturally related, though they *can* be.
What am I missing here?
Perhaps I should not be using Fraser here at all, and I should just work with Patricia Hill Collins’ matrix of domination and axes of oppression? Her work differentiates between heteropatriarchy (covers gender and sexuality), white supremacy (covers race, possibly religion), settler colonialism (I don’t know why she uses “settler” and not just colonialism and neocolonialism) and the economic dimension. It still doesn’t cover disability and personality. And ageism. And other things relevant in some contexts.
Is there a model of social justice that covers all of these? Or maybe that’s not the point? Maybe the point is to cover all the oppressions and intersectionalities relevant in our context? Am I missing more dimensions, too? Should we just seek to focus on whichever power differences are in front of us?
And still. Personality is not often used in the context of injustice, as if all power comes from systemic causes and none on personality. Help me out here.
Header image: Intersecting Axes of Discrimination from Wikimedia Commons by Lay Vegan CC-BY-SA: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Intersecting_Axes_of_Discrimination.png