Call for papers: Critical perspectives on agency and social justice in transitions and career development

I am co-editing a new special issue of the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling with Rie Thomsen and Kristina Mariager-Anderson. The special issue invites submissions on critical perspectives on agency and social justice in transitions and career development. The aim is to address critical, interdisciplinary and scientific approaches within guidance and counselling research.

The relationship between social justice, agency, how people enact their careers and the support that they call on while doing this is an emerging research topic in the fields of guidance and counselling. By placing important societal challenges such as educational dropout, social inequality in education, the need for upskilling and improving work-life balance on the research agenda, this special issue reflects and cultivates the growing interest in critical research on these topics.

With this issue we would like to invite leading international scholars from disciplines such as education science, counselling psychology, vocational psychology, social psychology, sociology, pedagogy and philosophy to identify and critically reflect on the ways in which socially just and ethically sound counselling and guidance practices can support sustainable transitions in education and work, by promoting individual and collective agency while addressing social and societal challenges.

The role of guidance and counselling is often understood as supporting and developing citizens’ agency in terms of their career and personal development. By supporting reflection and the development of self-knowledge, providing information about different career and life options and the tools to make decisions, guidance and counselling empowers citizens to manage their own life paths and can make successful transitions and achieve balance and wellbeing in their personal and professional lives. While such individual-centred approaches are still dominant in counselling and guidance they often fail to acknowledge structural, contextual and institutional inequalities, thereby also leaving the impact of broader discourses – for instance the impact of neoliberal governance – unquestioned. This failure has a profound impact on such practices and risks perpetuating these inequalities, tacitly privileging certain voices and worldviews, and thereby normalising and legitimising social injustice. Submissions could address the following themes:

  • Career management and responsibilisation
  • Inequalities and oppression in career theory, policy and practice
  • Neoliberalism and career
  • Social justice and career guidance
  • The role of critical theory in career research
  • Viewing individuals’ careers in communities and contexts

If you are interested in submitting an article for this special issue please contact Rie Thomsen by May 1st 2021. Article proposals should include the manuscript title, an abstract comprising 300-400 words, authors’ full names and affiliations, as well as the corresponding author’s contact details. and should be e-mailed to Professor MSO Rie Thomsen

We look forward to receive your abstracts for consideration. For further information see the full call at


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