The Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Social Work: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Social Work

1st Edition

Edited by Tanja Kleibl, Ronald Lutz, Ndangwa Noyoo, Bunk Benjamin, Dittmann Annika, Seepamore Boitumelo


384 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138604070
pub: 2019-08-22
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The Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Social Work reflects on and dissects the challenging issues confronting social work practice and education globally in the post-colonial era. By analyzing how countries in the so called developing and developed world have navigated some of the inherited systems from the colonial era, it shows how they have used them to provide relevant social work methods which are also responsive to the needs of a post-colonial setting.

This is an analytical and reflexive handbook that brings together different scholars from various parts of the world – both North and South – so as to distill ideas from scholars relating to ways that can advance social work of the South and critique social work of the North in so far as it is used as a template for social work approaches in post-colonial settings. It determines whether and how approaches, knowledge-bases and methods of social work have been indigenized and localized in the Global South in the post-colonial era.

This handbook provides the reader with multiple new theoretical approaches and empirical experiences and creates a space of action for the most marginalized communities worldwide. It will be of interest to all social work students, researchers and practitioners.


'This collection on post-colonial social work from a Southern perspective is an original work on a most important topic. It is a volume that contributes greatly to global transformation in an era when critical thinking is discouraged. It is a must read for social work professionals and students as well as the wider audience engaged with critical development theory and practice. Highly recommended.' - Ronaldo Muck, Professor of Political Sociology, Dublin City University

'This book is timely and a precious gift to all who cherish dignified social and human development. It contains a powerful integrative elucidation of northern and southern philosophies ideas that creates a synthesis supportive of the dialogue of social development in the world. This book should be celebrated by all; students, practitioners, academicians, policy makers and especially the oppressed of the world as it carries a message of hope tinged with the realism that supports the creation of a brave new world for all.' - Lengwe-Katembula J Mwansa (PhD), Professor, University of Botswana, Department of Social work, Gaborone, Botswana

Table of Contents

Introduction: setting the scene for critical new social work approaches in the neoliberal postcolonial era (Tanja Kleibl & Ndangwa Noyoo); Section I; Postcolonial Social Work: Perspectives and Approaches; Introduction: Postcolonial Social Work. Perspectives and Approaches (Tanja Kleibl); 1. Colonisation as collective trauma: fundamental perspectives for social work (Francine Masson and Linda Smith); 2. The relevance of Antonio Gramsci and Paulo Freire for a postcolonial education politics (Peter Mayo); 3. Colonialism and the colonisation of childhood in the light of postcolonial theory (Manfred Liebel); 4. Social work co-option and colonial borders (Linda Briskman); 5. Development. A postcolonial approach (Ronald Lutz); 6. Towards a decolonial feminist approach to social work education and practice (Roxane Caron and Edward Ou Jin Lee); Section II; Postcolonial social work and social movements; Introduction: Postcolonial social work and social movements; (Benjamin Bunk); 7. Conceptualizing the relation of postcolonial social work and social movements: subaltern answers from within exclusion and the theoretical ambivalence between postcolonial critique and social work practice (Benjamin Bunk); 8. Orientations from social movements: a postcolonial feminist perspective on human trafficking and social work (Anne C. Deepak); 9. Epistemic decoloniality as a pedagogical movement: a turn to anticolonial theorists such as Fanon, Biko and Freire (Linda Harms Smith); 10. Heterogenity within social movements: a reflection on pre, post, anti, and decolonial feminisms and womanisms emerging from Africa (Shahana Rasool); 11. Collective learning in and from social movements: the Bhopal Disaster survivors (Eurig Scandrett); 12. Social movements as pedagogical spaces: „Só lixo – just waste". The transformation of normative orientations under conditions of change between biographical plausibility and social evidence in Brazilian recycling cooperatives; (Benjamin Bunk); Section III; Indigenisation; Introduction: Indigenisation (Ronald Lutz); 13. Latin American social work as part of the struggles against professional imperialism (Gianinna Muñoz Arce); 14. We are beauty and we walk in it: Native American women in leadership roles (Hilary Weaver); 15. Liberation from mental colonisation: a case study of the indigenous people of Palestine (Mazin B. Qumsiyeh and Amani I. Amro); 16. Border thinking and social work in practice – is it possible? A deconstructive perspective of a case example (Anna Pfaffenstaller and Jacques Love Babatoundé Zannou); 17. Whose society, whose work? Seeking decolonised social work in Nepal (Mel Gray and Raj Kumar Yadav); 18. The relevance and purpose of social work in Aboriginal Australia – post- or decolonisation (Dawn Bessarab and Michael Wright); 19. Women’s empowerment: unravelling the cultural incompatibility myth in Zimbabwe (Rose Jaji and Tanja Kleibel); 20. Pushing for autonomous African development (Ndangwa Noyoo); Section IV; Case studies and innovation from Africa; Introduction: Postcolonial social work in Africa (Ndangwa Noyoo); 21. Decolonising social work practice and social work education in postcolonial Africa (Ndangwa Noyoo); 22. Social work with communities in Uganda: indigenous and innovative approaches (Janestic M. Twikirize); 23. Social work in Southern Africa in the postcolonial era: rekindling debate on the quest for relevance(Rodreck Mupedziswa); 24. Postcolonial dimensions of social work in Central African Republic and its impact on the life of hunter-gatherer children and youth – a critical perspective (Urszula Markowska-Manista); 25. A collaborative partnership as an effective model of foster care – a case from Alexandra Township in South Africa (Boitumelo Khothatso Seepamore and N. Seepamore); 26. Complementary and indigenous practices for advancing social work with vulnerable communities in South Africa (Yasmin Turton ); 27. Decolonisation of community development in South Africa (Kefilwe Johanna Ditlhake); 28. The search for relevance: social work supervision in a social development approach in South Africa (Mpumelelo Ncube and Ndangwa Noyoo); Conclusions; Problems, challenges and the way forward in accepting and thinking postcolonial within social work systems (Tanja Kleibl, Ronald Lutz, Ndangwa Noyoo, Boitumelo Seepamore, Annika Dittmann and Benjamin Bunk); Index

About the Editors

Tanja Kleibl is Professor of Social Work, Migration and Diversity at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS). Her research interest is in the area of political sociology, in particular postcolonial civil society, social movements, mobility and international development. Tanja has worked for various local and international NGOs and government agencies in Africa and beyond. She brings together 15 years of extensive practice and research experience in development cooperation and migration.

Ronald Lutz; Dr. phil. Sociologist and Anthropologist, Professor at the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences at the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences since 1993, fields of interest: poverty, social politics, social development, international relations.

Ndangwa Noyoo is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town. His research interests are: Social Policy, Comparative Social Policy in Africa, Social Development, Public Policy and Indigenous Knowledge Systems. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, France, 2005-06. Previously, he worked for the University of Johannesburg as an Associate Professor in the Department Social Work where he taught Social Policy and Planning, and Social Research Methods, among others. Before this, he worked for the South African government as a Senior Social Policy Specialist/Chief Director in the National Department of Social Development. Prior to this, he was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has published widely in the areas of social policy, social development and related fields, especially, in the context of Africa and Southern Africa.

Benjamin Bunk holds a PhD in educational science. After a one-year qualitative field research in Brazil (PUCRS) and as visiting scholar at the University of Helsinki, he is currently a Junior Fellow at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies in Erfurt. Besides social movements, he is dedicated to the philosophy of education, concepts of global learning, and progressive education.

Annika Dittmann holds a Bachelor’s degree of Pedagogy from University of Bamberg and a Master’s degree of International Social Work from University of Applied Sciences Erfurt. Currently she is working with female underage refugees.

Boitumelo Seepamore is a lecturer in the discipline of social work at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She teaches community work and draws her experience from the community work projects she has undertaken in her work with the communities of Soweto in Johannesburg, and KwaZulu-Natal.

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