Disrupting the Dominant Discourse: Rethinking Identity Development in Social Work Education and Practice

By CarolAnn Daniel and Laura Quiros.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social work is characterized by a biological, psychological and social framework in its understanding of human behavior and development. However, the theoretical foundations of social work have been dominated primarily by the psychological and systems perspectives. In this paper the authors examine the essentialized, limited and uninterrograted notions of identity in these approaches. Given the current context of globalization they argue that the prevailing notions of identity and human development as represented in these theories are inadequate for depicting the complexities of the new social context. A post modern critical perspective offers a paradigm with which to respond to the rapidly changing context of the new world order and where the critiques of modernist concepts of self and identity can be incorporated while valuing social work’s commitment to social justice. They offer a set of principles which are derived from a postmodern critical perspective; and from which to establish interventions that are more culturally accessible, enabling and relevant in a multicultural society. These include: discourse analysis, consciousness raising, giving voice, sharing power, reflexivity and transformation. Finally, they consider the challenges for integrating a postmodern critical framework within social work education and practice.

Keywords: Critical Theory, Multicultural Identity, Social Work Education, Diversity, Post modernism, Globalization

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.283-294. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 655.219KB).

Dr. CarolAnn Daniel

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA

CarolAnn Daniel is an assistant professor at Adelphi University. She teaches in the area of social welfare policy. Her scholarly interests are in the areas of immigrant incorporation and implications for health seeking; identity and professional socialization, multicultural education and pedagogy and critical theory and methods. Her current research examines the discourses of diversity in diversity education plans in schools of social work and their implications for the professional socialization of students of color.

Dr. Laura Quiros

Assistant Professor, Social Work, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA

Laura Quiros is an assistant professor at Adelphi University in New York. Her scholarly interests include multicultural identification among women of color; the juxtaposition of critical pedagogy and social work practice; and qualitative research methodology. Her current research explores how women of color from mixed heritage negotiate their racial and ethnic identities within various social contexts.


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