How do students from privileged communities respond to educational efforts encouraging them to become justice-oriented citizens? Observational and interview data collected during a semester-long case study of eleven high school students in a social studies class at an elite private school reveal four markedly different interpretations of their teacher's call to be justice-oriented citizens. Under Westheimer and Kahne’s (2004) conceptions of citizenship as an analytical frame, only one of these interpretations aligns with the tenets of justice-oriented citizenship and the desired outcomes of social justice pedagogy. Given that all eleven students considered themselves to be justice oriented, these findings reveal a disconnect between students’ conceptions of social justice and the principles undergirding a social-justice education. This paper emphasizes the need for a more nuanced understanding of how students make sense of their social responsibilities as privileged people and reveals the deeply embedded nature of hegemonic common sense within privileged individuals and institutions.

Response to this Article

Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández and Adam Howard, Social Justice, Deferred Complicity, and the Moral Plight of the Wealthy