The “Science of Social Justice”: An Interdisciplinary Theoretical Framework Grounded in Neuroscience, Education, and Anthropology towards Healing Intergenerational Trauma


  • Sará King NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow in Neurology; Oregon Health & Science University


social justice, intergenerational trauma, neuroeducation, well-being, SBAM, SSJ, health, mindfulness, marginalization, loving-awareness


The Science of Social Justice (SSJ) is a theoretical framework for healing intergenerational trauma which stems from the impact of the historical and lived embodied experience of systemic oppression. It explores the theoretical assertion that social justice and well-being are one and the same thing. This paper explores neuroeducational and anthropological research on the relationship between empathy, emotions, and awareness to analyze how embodied and contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation are examples of awareness-based interventions that can serve as the means of promoting embodied social justice. In this paper the Systems-Based Awareness Map (SBAM) is introduced as a visual representation of the SSJ which has been largely influenced by the field of interpersonal neurobiology—a theoretical map and model of the relationship between internal states of awareness, interoceptive awareness, exteroceptive awareness, and external states of awareness. The SBAM is a means of demonstrating how the relationships between qualitative and quantitative measures of awareness and embodied experience, and their potential correlations might be “mapped” visually to show how these domains are potentially interrelated. This process may also to help researchers, scientists, educators, and policy makers determine how it is that trauma, pain, or various forms of violence have a negative, “contracting” impact upon individual and collective experiences of awareness, thus assisting with the development of interventions, policies, or educational programs which might help to ameliorate this impact.

Author Biography

Sará King, NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow in Neurology; Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Sará King is a neuroscientist, political and learning scientist, education philosopher, social-entrepreneur, public speaker, and certified yoga and meditation instructor. She specializes in the study of the relationship between mindfulness, art, complementary alternative medicine, community health and social justice.


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