Flawed Visions of Democracy in the United States: Influences on Current Critical Social Justice Research


  • sj Miller


The visionary, John Dewey, once said that a success to a deliberative democracy is dependent on how a community communicates and then collectively enacts change. His early critiques of Democracy are foundational to current critical research about social justice because the principles that govern our current democracy have been flagrantly marginalized from our communal sense of democratic agency. Social justice research has been highly politicized by policy-makers, which has led research to be more innovative in its challenges of hegemonic principles that have mandated and inculcated compulsory, inequitable, and insensitive schooling practices. This conceptual piece highlights the importance of foregrounding critical social justice research in education as it revisits a historical critique of flawed visions of democracy, its origins in the U.S. Constitution as location for understanding how social justice has been (mis)appropriated and affixed to myriad contexts, and positions the salience of centering critical social justice research in education.

Author Biography

sj Miller

sj Miller is Associate Professor of Urban Teacher Education/Secondary English and Language Arts at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. sj has published widely in journals and presented at national conferences on a variety of topics related to teaching young adult literature, anti-bullying pedagogy, challenging the gender binary, multimodal applications of popular culture in secondary classrooms, and cultivating socio-spatial justice dispositions with secondary preservice English teachers. Most notably, sj won the 2005 Article of the Year Award from the English Journal for “Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom,” co-authored Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix: Negotiating Space and Time Between University and Secondary English Classrooms which received the Richard A. Meade award from NCTE, co-authored Narratives of Social Justice Teaching: How English Teachers Negotiate Theory and Practice Between Preservice and Inservice Spaces and Change Matters: Critical Essays on Moving Social Justice Research from Theory to Policy. Most recently, sj helped draft the Beliefs Statement related to Social Justice in English education and helped pass the NCTE Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education. sj is a CEE Executive Committee member, AERA Division K: Section 4 co-chair, and Associate Editor for The Critical Journal of Urban Teacher Education.