1st Edition

Equity in Higher Education Time for Social Justice Praxis

By Penny Jane Burke, Matt Lumb Copyright 2025
    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    232 Pages
    by Routledge

    In a global context of growing inequality and socio-environmental crises, Equity in Higher Education considers the issues and challenges for progressing an equity agenda.

    It advances a unique multidimensional framework based on theoretical and conceptual threads including critical, feminist, decolonial, post-structural and sociological discourses. It also provides readers with the sophisticated insights and tools urgently needed to challenge long-standing, entrenched and insidious inequalities at play in and through higher education.

    Written as a form of a pedagogical interaction, and addressing nuanced temporal and spatial inequalities, this key resource will be of value to policy-makers, practitioners, educators and scholars committed to progressive and ground-breaking approaches.

    Part I: Recontextualising and Reframing Equity
    1. Contextualising Equity
    2. From deficit imaginaries to social justice reframing 
    3. Conceptual Tools for Critical Social Justice Praxis
    4. Towards Socially Just Pedagogical Praxis

    Part II: Methodologies for Transformative Equity Praxis
    5. Time for Equity Praxis
    6. Hegemonic evaluation as a governing gaze
    7. Exploring Possibilities for Praxis

    Part III: Social Justice Transformation through Equity Praxis
    8. Beyond deficit imaginaries, towards praxis
    9. Generating Change through Equity Praxis: Foundations and Futures


    Penny Jane Burke is UNESCO Chair in Equity, Social Justice and Higher Education, Global Innovation Chair of Equity and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

    Matt Lumb is Associate Director at the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

    “Equity in Higher Education: Time for Social Justice Praxis offers an incisive critique of the longstanding inequalities in contemporary higher education and how race, gender, social class and age continue to shape access and participation in socially unjust ways. In addition – and this is what makes this book so compelling and exciting – the deployment of a multidimensional social justice framework for both analysis and action urges us to rethink what is meant by equity. Drawing on a wealth of theoretical and empirical work, this timely and insightful book acknowledges the messiness and necessity of working in collaborative ways; its grounding in a praxis for change makes it a must-read for policymakers, academics and educators.”
    Carol A. Taylor, Professor of Higher Education and Gender, University of Bath, UK

    “If you work in higher education, or if your policy work influences its directions, this profound book will compel you to reconsider and alter what you do. It puts conventional approaches to equity in higher education under pressure highlighting their deep, and sometimes subtlety seductive, structural flaws. In the spirit of positive critique, it also offers fresh and highly persuasive considerations for praxis. Enlivened by strong ethical sensibilities it provides the best of practical theory and of thought-full practice.”
    Jane Kenway, Emeritus Professor, Monash University, Australia

    “What is the role of the university? This is a crucial and recurrent question in the global histories and geographies of higher education, but it is also at the heart of this important and timely book. In flagging up the urgency of social justice in higher education the book’s urgent argument is that equity can only be materialized as praxis and in doing so it offers a unique framework for action in different socio-political, cultural and geographical contexts.”
    Maria Tamboukou, Professor of Feminist Studies, University of East London, UK

    “Penny Jane Burke’s and Matt Lumb’s Equity in Higher Education: Time for Social Justice Praxis is an essential and challenging text for all those concerned for more socially just polices, practices and participation in higher education. They proffer original, sophisticated, multidimensional and equitable theory and methodologies for achieving these aspirational goals in the context of the climate emergency, challenges to democracy, growing inequality and corporatised universities.”
    Bob Lingard, Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland, Australia

    “This book is a welcome contribution to conversations on how current higher education policies and practices are insidiously undergirded by a metaphysics of individualism. The book critiques pathologisation of individual students through deficit discourses, and taken-for-granted notions of time in higher education, providing provocations for alternative methodologies towards a theoretically-informed social justice praxis.”
    Vivienne Bozalek, Emerita Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Honorary Professor Centre for Higher Education Research Teaching and Learning (CHERTL), Rhodes University, South Africa