Integrating philosophy, sociology, and dialog-based instruction in the social & criminal justice classroom

Justin M. Smith, Rebecca Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In creating this analysis of pedagogical strategies, we began with the recognition that criminal justice education currently tends to be limited in its scope. The focus on courts, law enforcement, and incarceration dominate the curriculum in the university context. We hope to broaden this scope within social and criminal justice courses, and here we outline effective pedagogical strategies. The focus is primarily on cultivating student consciousness of foundational bases of justice using perspectives from philosophy alongside sociological and criminological research. Descriptions of philosophical and sociological content and concepts around justice are accompanied by an analysis of dialog-based instructional methods and the use of Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to do? From this approach, we address fundamental philosophical perspectives on virtue, maximizing general welfare, and freedom; and we tie this content with studies of core sociological issues of civic engagement and social solidarity, economic/racial/gender inequality, institutional anomie and deviance, among others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • Teaching strategies
  • crime and deviance
  • criminal justice
  • philosophy of justice
  • social justice


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