Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Social justice and disability policy in Southern Africa

Jacob Mugumbate


Social justice means different things to different people. This has resulted in diverse meanings and interpretations despite some commonalities, such as a focus on marginalised groups including women, people living in rural areas, persons with disabilities, children, racial minorities, and refugees, among others. In Nancy Fraser's interpretation of social justice, these and other marginalised groups are subject to maldistribution, misrecognition, and misrepresentation. This paper examines Fraser's theory in relation to disability policy in Southern Africa. It begins by outlining core concepts in Fraser's theory of social justice before examining regional and national policy measures designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Southern Africa guided by the question: how might Fraser's perspective on social justice enhance disability policy in Southern Africa? From this analysis, the authors conclude that Fraser's notion of redistribution is pivotal to policy implementation supported by recognition and representation of people with disabilities in Southern Africa.

Keywords: Disability, social policy, social justice, Southern Africa

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