Social Empathy as a Framework for Teaching Social Justice

Elizabeth Segal, M. Alex Wagaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Social work education stresses training students to understand oppressive structural barriers and promote social and economic justice. Social empathy, which is rooted in a deep understanding of those who are different from us through contextual understanding and macro perspective-taking, offers a framework for teaching social justice that addresses critiques of the profession, such as a partisan political perspective. To explore this potential, the study examined relationships between interpersonal empathy, social empathy, political affiliation, and policy positions on issues related to social and economic justice with a sample of social work students. Findings support the teaching of social empathy as a way to promote students’ understanding and advancement of social and economic justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social Work Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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