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Afterword: Looking Backwards to Move Everyone Forward to a More Inclusive, Just, and Sustainable World

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2023

Glenn W. Muschert
Affiliation:
Khalifa University
Kristen M. Budd
Affiliation:
University of Miami
Michelle Christian
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Jon Shefner
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Robert Perrucci
Affiliation:
Purdue University, Indiana
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Summary

The Society for the Study of Social Problems inaugurated the first Agenda for Social Justice (Agenda) in 2004, with the vision of presenting sociologically informed solutions for persistent social problems, to policy makers and the general public. While this fifth version of the Agenda is the first to emphasize global social problems, global issues and global actions for social justice have been a growing part of each Agenda publication.

The 2004 Agenda was written during a period which saw many contentious, large-scale global justice demonstrations at meetings of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other gatherings, in primarily wealthy nations, that were expanding neoliberalism to benefit wealthy countries, corporations, and individuals at the detriment of the poor and the planet. Dr. Jon Shefner reminded readers of the first Agenda, in a chapter on global economics and protest, that “Legislation to improve civil rights, labor rights, and widen political participation all had antecedents in citizen protest.”

In addition to protests against neoliberalism during the first decade of the 21st century, the World Social Forum (Forum) was expanding support, at its own annual meetings, for an alternative vision of a globalized world. The Forum sponsored open discussions and debates about solutions—enshrined in its founding Charter of Principles— to “the problems of exclusion and social inequality that the process of capitalist globalization with its racist, sexist and environmentally destructive dimensions is creating internationally and within countries.”

The first section of the 2008 Agenda was titled “Global Issues” and featured a four-chapter section addressing the vulnerabilities of immigrant children, migrant workers, and low-income communities to global injustices and climate change disasters. An additional chapter addressed the opening for global policies advancing social justice in Latin America, due to what some scholars called the “pink tide” of citizens electing more liberal or leftist governments.

Our 2012 Agenda included chapters about the challenges of immigrant women and the need for immigration reform. By the time of its August publication, Latin America’s pink tide began to recede to more conservative leaders that were less interested in challenging the orthodoxy of neoliberal globalization, and more interested in rolling back social programs addressing inequalities, as well as increasing authoritarian control.

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Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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