Philosophies & Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis

Contributor: Peggy Chinn
August 26, 2018

Editors: Paula N. Kagan, PhD, RN; Marlaine C. Smith, RN, PhD, AHN-BC, FAAN;  Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, FAAN

Year First Published – 2014

2015 AJN Book of the Year Awards in two categories – Professional Issues, and History & Public Policy.

Major Concepts

Emancipatory Nursing
Social Justice
Nursing Practice
Nursing Research
Nursing Education
Nursing Knowledge

Brief Description

This anthology presents original writings of nurse scholars whose works center on promoting nursing research, practice, and education within frameworks of social justice and critical theories. Social justice nursing is defined by the editors as nursing practice that is emancipatory and rests on the principle of praxis which is practice aimed at attaining social justice goals and outcomes that improve health experiences and conditions of individuals, their communities, and society.  Chapters bridge critical theoretical frameworks and nursing science in ways that are understandable and useful for practicing nurses and other health professionals in clinical settings, in academia, and in research.

In this book, nurses’ ideas and knowledge development efforts are not limited to problems and solutions emerging from the dominant discourse or traditions. The authors offer innovative ways to work towards establishing alternative forms of knowledge, capable of capturing both the roots and complexity of contemporary problems as distributed across a diversity of people and communities. It fills a significant gap in the literature and makes an exceptional contribution as a collection of new writings from some of the foremost nursing scholars whose works are informed by critical frameworks.

Book Editions

Kagan, P. N., Smith, M. C., & Chinn, P. L. (Eds.). (2014). Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis. Routledge.


Paula N Kagan

Dr. Kagan is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, DePaul University

Chicago where she teaches graduate courses in theory, ethics, policy, and research – all from intersectional, critical feminist, and postcolonial perspectives. She is an affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, acting as Interim Chair of that Department in 2014 and 2015. Dr. Kagan developed and taught courses that reflect social justice tenets such as Women’s Health, Health at the Margins, and Lesbian Health Matters.  She also taught epidemiology from critical perspectives including a course in the narratives of epidemiology for DePaul’s Honors Program. Dr. Kagan received the Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educator Fellowship Award and the DePaul University Humanities Center Fellowship for her analysis of documentary filmmaking as nursing praxis. She was also a recipient of The OpEd Project Fellowship.

Dr. Kagan has authored articles and chapters on listening, nursing philosophy, radical nurses, innovations in research, creating change, and health policy in addition to policy position papers on issues such as medicinal cannabis, midwifery, and pain management. Dr. Kagan and her co-authors, Marlaine Smith and Peggy Chinn published the only anthology in nursing on social justice: Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis. This important book won the prestigious 2015 AJN Book of the Year Award in two categories. While specifically committed to social justice, Dr. Kagan has multifaceted experience in the hospital, the community, and the health insurance industry working in diverse areas such as psychiatry, drug dependence, women’s health, cancer clinical trials and reproductive endocrinology. She maintains an assiduous critique of American health care.

Marlaine Smith

Dr. Smith has been Dean and Helen K. Persson Eminent Scholar at Florida AtlanticMarlaine SMITH University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing since 2011.  Her contributions to nursing can be clustered in two areas: developing knowledge related to processes and outcomes of healing, specifically touch therapies, and analyzing, extending and applying nursing theories.  Besides this text, she has co-edited two others: Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice and Caring Classics in Nursing.  Dr. Smith is passionate about developing the discipline of nursing, unitary and caring sciences, and creating a health care system that is equitable, just, humanistic and relationship-centered.

Peggy L. Chinn (1941 – )

Dr. Chinn is Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Connecticut. She is the

founding Editor of Advances in Nursing Science and authors books and journal articles on nursing theory, feminism and nursing, the art of nursing, and nursing education. She is co-founder and web manager of the Nurse Manifest Project to inspire and empower grass-roots action by nurses to shape the future of nursing and health care based on nursing’s fundamental values. Her book and website focused on cooperative group process, Peace and Power, is grounded in critical feminist theory and nursing philosophy, and is recognized as a model for critical research methods, teaching and learning, and political action.