Power, inequality and social justice

  • Claire McCartan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis will comprise nine peer-reviewed journal articles and one peer reviewed book chapter, complemented by a critical analysis of how the work creates a coherent and original contribution to the synthesis of evidence and new methods in the field of participation and reducing inequalities. The work will present a range of different research methodologies and demonstrate the application of these methods to explore the role of power and social justice within the context of children and young people’s lives. It will evidence the development of my research skills over the last ten years, the production of new knowledge and the contribution of this research to a greater understanding of the inequalities pervasive in child welfare practice and policy.

The selected publications also explore the role of social justice in research and the potential for research to help redistribute power using participatory approaches to consult and involve young people as social agents in their own right. They will demonstrate the deficit of power experienced by many children and young people, particularly those engaged in treatment and/or social services and who may be victims of poverty and abuse. There will be a particular focus on child welfare inequalities relating to deprivation and the greater exposure to risk associated with this. It will explore how services can be improved for children and their families by acknowledging the role of power relations in tackling social justice.
Date of AwardJul 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsQueen's University Belfast
SupervisorGavin Davidson (Supervisor)


  • child welfare
  • child protection
  • inequalities
  • participation
  • poverty
  • social justice

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