1st Edition

Disrupting Whiteness in Social Work

Edited By Sonia M. Tascón, Jim Ife Copyright 2020
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    Focussing on the epistemic – the way in which knowledge is understood,


    transmitted and used – this book shows the way social work

    knowledge has been constructed from within a white western paradigm, and

    the need for a critique of whiteness within social work at this epistemic level.

    Social work, emerging from the western Enlightenment world, has privileged

    white western knowledge in ways that have been, until recently, largely unexamined

    within its professional discourse. This imposition of white western

    ways of knowing has led to a corresponding marginalisation of other forms

    of knowledge. Drawing on views from social workers from Asia, the Pacific

    region, Africa, Australia and Latin America, this book also includes a glossary

    of over 40 commonly used social work terms, which are listed with their epistemological

    assumptions identified. Opening up a debate about the received

    wisdom of much social work language as well as challenging the epistemological

    assumptions behind conventional social work practice, this book will be

    of interest to all scholars and students of social work as well as practitioners


    to develop genuinely decolonised forms of practice.

    PART 1

    Introduction: Sonia Tascón and Jim Ife

    Chapter 1: Critical Whiteness: Communicating Social Work: Sonia Tascón

    Chapter 2: Whiteness from Within: Jim Ife

    PART 2

    Chapter 3: The white saviour complex: The danger of the “single story” about Africa & Africans in Social work Practice: Kathomi Gatwiri

    Chapter 4: Straddling the Gap: Australian Social Work and First People: Sue Green

    Chapter 5: Decolonising Social work in Uganda by Starting from the Community: Sharlotte Tusasiirwe

    Chapter 6: Refractory inventions: The incubation of Rival Epistemologies on the Margins of Brazilian Social Work: Iris Silva Brito, Goetz Ottmann

    Chapter 7: Mutuality and creativity: Knowing and Being as a Pasifika social work scholar: Tracie Mafile’o

    Chapter 8: Supporting the development of Pacific Social Work across Oceania – critical reflections and lessons learnt towards disrupting whiteness in the region: Jioji Ravulo

    Chapter 9: Una aproximación al trabajo social desde la decolonialidad y la interseccionalidades: Larry Alicea Rodríguez

    Chapter 10: Islamic and Local Knowledge on Social Work in Malaysia: Zulkarnain A. Hatta, Isahaque Ali, Mohd Haizzan Yahaya, Mat Saad

    PART 3

    Decolonising the Language of Social Work


    Sonia Tascón is a Lecturer in Social Work at Western Sydney University. A descendant of the Chilean Indigenous Mapuche Nation, a fact she discovered later in life, she is now committed to understanding and incorporating her indigeneity into her self-identification. Her lengthy academic career has almost completely focused on issues of race, whiteness, diaspora, and refugee and migrant rights. As a social work/ human rights practitioner her practice incorporated Indigenous health, youth and child mental health, as well as child protection, always with a concern for race as a dimension of inequality. In her later academic life, she took a turn towards the creative visual arts, always maintaining a race analysis and focus on communities as sources of sustenance. Her current interest lies on disrupting white epistemologies in social work and beyond, as a foundational means of achieving decolonisation.

    Jim Ife is Professor of Social Work at Western Sydney University. He has previously been Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at The University of Western Australia and at Curtin University, and was Head of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin, where is he Emeritus Professor. He has written extensively in the areas of community development, social work and human rights, and is the author of Community Development (Cambridge University Press, latest edition 2016), Human Rights and Social Work (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition 2013), Human Rights from Below (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Rethinking Social Work (Pearson, 1997). He is also co-editor of Radicals in Australian Social Work: Stories of Life-Long Activism (Conor Court, 2017).