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Social Justice, The Common Weal and Children and Young People in Scotland

This paper considers how the Common Weal can connect to children and young people’s concepts of social justice. It considers children and young people’s experiences, in light of the Christie Commission’s call for public service provision to confront inequalities. The paper poses questions about the extent to which children and young people will be involved in, and be able to define, the Common Weal.

The paper argues that:

• Research in the field of childhood studies defines social justice in terms of children and young people’s entitlement (e.g. to the law, services and democratic processes), redistribution (e.g. of rights, duties and resources), recognition (e.g. of culture, difference, capacity) and respect (e.g. of strengths, attributes, abilities).

• Children and young people believe that exclusion, poverty and a lack of support impact greatly on their lives. In particular, these factors inhibit their ability to build strong long-term relationships with peers, family members and adults.• For children and young people to be included in the Common Weal, they need support to address the full and diverse range of structural, cultural and individual barriers that they encounter in their lives.