Justice and inequality in space—A socio-normative analysis

Emil Israel, Amnon Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Issues of justice and inequality are among the most compelling themes in spatial studies. And yet, the field lacks a normative approach to justice in measurements of inequality in spatial scales, either in the regional, or alternatively, in the urban. In a paper by Israel and Frenkel (2018), the authors offer a theoretical framework that advances the study of social justice in space. It utilizes concepts of Pierre Bourdieu's theory on social class, while using Amartya Sen's 'capabilities' approach to justice to define the metrics of this concept. We take their proposed framework and examine it empirically by means of a regional case study in Israel. Data were collected on a central region in Israel and a field survey was conducted on more than 1000 households. The concept of justice and the socio-spatial structures under which justice is created were converted into measurable values. By using Explanatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling, the conceptual framework was quantitatively estimated. In accordance with the inspected theory, we show that the interrelationship between a person's location in the social space and living environment influences his or her life-chances. The empirical results demonstrate how the proposed theory can be operationalized-that is, binding a normative idea with an empirically based scrutinization of the social and cultural constraints that affect freedom of choice. The framework's operationalization allows for applying it in future endeavors that strive to understand what normative implications spatial development carry when relating to the social space and built environment of a place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Capabilities
  • Capital forms
  • Normativity
  • Social justice
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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