Anti Oppressive Social Work Theory and Practice by Lena Dominelli

By Lena Dominelli

This e-book, by way of one of many major theorists of social paintings, tackles a topic of an important value to scholars and practitioners alike: how social staff can let their consumers to problem and go beyond the manifold oppressions that disempower them (whether via poverty, incapacity, psychological affliction, etc.). It strikes from a dialogue of social work's objective and objectives to an exposition of thought and, from there, to the perform arenas of operating with participants, in teams, inside of corporations, and inside of a much broader social and political context.

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When analysed, the ‘typical citizen’ was exposed as a white, middle-class male (Dale and Foster, 1986; Pascall, 1986; 30 Anti-Oppressive Social Work Theory and Practice Dominelli, 1991b). In Britain, women and black people were initially denied access to the welfare state in their own right and were left out as specific groups with their own particular claims (Williams, 1989). Women’s eligibility for welfare resources on an independent basis was curtailed by an assumed dependency on their fathers or husbands who were expected to provide for them through the ‘family wage’.

Disagreements about allowable actions may subsequently become a source of conflict between a practitioner and a client, or the practitioner and his or her employer. Thus, responding to clients’ agendas can place practitioners in awkward positions that give rise to a range of moral and ethical dilemmas that may be difficult to resolve. Not only can they be acting 26 Anti-Oppressive Social Work Theory and Practice against many of the principles upon which their socialisation into the profession has been based, for example their belief in professional knowledge and expertise, their desire to maintain a detached and distant professional pose vis-à-vis their clients, and their accountability to their employers and the public at large, but they also have to make a leap of faith and jump into unknown territory which is riddled with risk-taking alternatives that may leave them jobless and purposeless.

This era of welfare state building was marked by a move away from residual state forms with highly stigmatised access, to universalism and equal access for all. However, this form of universalism treated each subject or citizen as identical and normalised provisions according to white men’s needs (Williams, 1989). Nonetheless, the context of universalism has facilitated professionals’ willingness and ability to incorporate claimants’ wishes for respect and dignity into their usual routines. However, within the current historical period of the welfare state, responding to user-led demands for control and emancipation may place social workers in a difficult position vis-à-vis employers who endorse a neo-liberal modernising project.

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