Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Katherine B. Hankins

Second Advisor

Kate Derickson

Third Advisor

Leslie A. Edwards


As provision of social services is increasingly handled by the non-profit sector, specifically through faith-based organizations (FBO's), current scholarship has suggests that FBOs have the possibility to either reinforce neoliberal ideology or progress social justice. This study provides an examination of the shift in conceptions of justice for participants in the Mission Year program, an FBO program naming justice as a goal. For the participants, this experience creates a new understanding of the causes of poverty, injustice and American culture which I name 'justice as knowing.' This understanding culminated within participants a desire to “live out justice” as ‘intentional neighbors’ by relocating to a high-poverty neighborhood, reconciling racial relations by building relationships, and contributing to a redistribution of wealth by investing resources in a high-poverty neighborhood. I call this action ‘justice as doing.’ Participants shift from liberal-based notions justice, rooted in liberalism, toward more equity-based conceptions of justice as fairness.