This paper provides an account of the concept of social justice and how it is loosely and uncritically defined and applied in service-learning context. Social justice is deemed as an approach to service-learning, which allows all actors to actively participate in decision-making, share power and benefit equally. This framing of social justice in service-learning is largely within the realm of John Rawls’ perfect justice. There is relatively little attention given to small and actionable changes yielded in and through service-learning. As such, this paper uses the concept of ‘partial justice’ as purported by Amartya Sen to interrogate the meanings and applications of social justice in service-learning. The paper draws on qualitative data collected through document analysis, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with students, staff, and community members. The focus and contribution of the paper is timely and pertinent given the unexamined conceptions and use of social justice in service-learning context.
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