The dialogue of this paper operates at two levels. First, it seeks to rethink the various perspectives on social justice evident in the academic literature, reviewing what is collectively known about it and where current thinking is taking and/or should be taking us. Second, it reports on research concerning the schooling of students with disabilities or, more accurately, research concerning the practices of teachers in relation to the inclusion of students with disabilities within ‘mainstream’ classrooms. These two discussions come together through their collaborative interest in recognizing social justice when they ‘see’ it; the data from the research are used to inform the theory it illustrates and the theory is used to explain teachers' practices. In this critical sense it is more than a dialogue, with its parts dialectically related. The paper's critique also extends to questioning whose interests are served (and whose are not) by various social justice perspectives and their applications to schooling. It concludes that ‘a critical theory of social justice must consider not only distributive patterns, but also the processes and relationships that produce and reproduce those patterns’ (Young 1990: 241).