front cover of Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption
Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption
E. Wayne Carp
University of Michigan Press, 2013

Jean Paton (1908–2002) fought tirelessly to reform American adoption and to overcome prejudice against adult adoptees and women who give birth out of wedlock. Paton wrote widely and passionately about the adoption experience, corresponded with policymakers as well as individual adoptees, promoted the psychological well-being of adoptees, and facilitated reunions between adoptees and their birth parents. E. Wayne Carp's masterful biography brings to light the accomplishments of this neglected civil-rights pioneer, who paved the way for the explosive emergence of the adoption reform movement in the 1970s. Her unflagging efforts over five decades helped reverse harmful policies, practices, and laws concerning adoption and closed records, struggles that continue to this day.


front cover of Just Work
Just Work
Russell Muirhead
Harvard University Press, 2007

This elegant essay on the justice of work focuses on the fit between who we are and the kind of work we do. Russell Muirhead shows how the common hope for work that fulfills us involves more than personal interest; it also points to larger understandings of a just society. We are defined in part by the jobs we hold, and Muirhead has something important to say about the partial satisfactions of the working life, and the increasingly urgent need to balance the claims of work against those of family and community.

Against the tendency to think of work exclusively in contractual terms, Muirhead focuses on the importance of work to our sense of a life well lived. Our notions of freedom and fairness are incomplete, he argues, without due consideration of how we fit the work we do.

Muirhead weaves his argument out of sociological, economic, and philosophical analysis. He shows, among other things, how modern feminism's effort to reform domestic work and extend the promise of careers has contributed to more democratic understandings of what it means to have work that fits. His account of individual and social fit as twin standards of assessment is original and convincing--it points both to the unavoidable problem of distributing bad work in society and to the personal importance of finding fulfilling work. These themes are pursued through a wide-ranging discussion that engages thinkers from Plato to John Stuart Mill to Betty Friedan. Just Work shows what it would mean for work to make good on the high promise so often invested in it and suggests what we--both as a society and as individuals--might do when it falls short.


front cover of Justice at Work
Justice at Work
The Rise of Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions in Cities
Marc Doussard
University of Minnesota Press, 2022

A pathbreaking look at how progressive policy change for economic justice has swept U.S. cities


In the 2010s cities and counties across the United States witnessed long-overdue change as they engaged more than ever before with questions of social, economic, and racial justice. After decades of urban economic restructuring that intensified class divides and institutional and systemic racism, dozens of local governments countered the conventional wisdom that cities couldn’t address inequality—enacting progressive labor market policies, from $15 minimum wages to paid sick leave.

Justice at Work examines the mutually reinforcing roles of economic and racial justice organizing and policy entrepreneurship in building power and support for policy changes. Bridging urban social movement and urban politics studies, it demonstrates how economic and racial justice coalitions are collectively the critical institution underpinning progressive change. It also shows that urban policy change is driven by “urban policy entrepreneurs” who use public space and the intangible resources of the city to open “agenda windows” for progressive policy proposals incubated through national networks. 

Through case studies of organizing and policy change efforts in cities including Chicago, Seattle, and New Orleans around minimum wages, targeted hiring, paid time off, fair scheduling, and anti-austerity, Marc Doussard and Greg Schrock show that the contemporary wave of successful progressive organizing efforts is likely to endure. Yet they caution that success is dependent on skillful organizing that builds and sustains power at the grassroots—and skillful policy work inside City Hall. By promoting justice at—and increasingly beyond—work, these movements hold the potential to unlock a new model for inclusive economic development in cities. 


front cover of Justice in Public Life
Justice in Public Life
Claire Foster-Gilbert, Jane Sinclair, and James Hawkey
Haus Publishing, 2021
An exploration of the concept of justice, focusing on its place in public service.

The three essays in Justice in Public Life, written by Claire Foster-Gilbert, Jane Sinclair, and James Hawkey, examine the meaning of justice in the twenty-first century, asking how justice can be expressed by our public service institutions and in society more widely. They consider whether justice is tied to truth and whether our idea of justice is skewed when we conflate it with fairness. They also explore how justice as a virtue can help us navigate the complexities of life in economics, in wider society, and in righting wrongs. In addition, their essays consider the threats to a just society, including human nature itself, the inheritance of unjust structures, the wide range of views about what constitutes justice, and the difficulty of establishing it globally and between nation-states. Justice in Public Life brings an often abstract concept to life, calling on public servants to nurture justice as a virtue pursued both individually and communally.

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