Enriching anti-racist social work curriculum: sensitizing concepts from New Brunswick

Clews, Rosemary A. (2000) Enriching anti-racist social work curriculum: sensitizing concepts from New Brunswick. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This dissertation describes a process that aims to enrich anti-racist social work curriculum by contributing to the foundational/anti-foundational debate in anti-racist social work theory. Anti-racist social work theory is foundational because it is based on the clear notion that social work should confront racism. In contrast anti-foundational social work theories deny foundations, (including anti-racist foundations), but value diversity and call for unique responses to unique situations. Foundational and anti-foundational social work theories inform different social work curriculum content and teaching and learning methods. I claim that a foundational/anti-foundational dichotomy impoverishes anti-racist social work theory. My research explores the potential of "sensitizing concepts" to link foundational and anti-foundational theories and thereby enrich anti-racist social work curriculum. According to van den Hoonaard sensitizing concepts are constructs drawn from the perspectives of others that alert researchers to particular lines of thinking that may differ from their own thinking. -- In this study I identified foundational ideas that formed the bedrock of my thinking about curriculum content and teaching and learning methods for anti-racist social work. I decided which of these foundational ideas I was willing to change and which were uncontestable foundations of my thinking. Then I explored sensitizing concepts about appropriate anti-racist social work curriculum in New Brunswick with stakeholders in the anti-racist focus of the School of Social Work at St. Thomas University, Fredericton. Questionnaires and qualitative interviews were employed as research methods. Participants reported that racism exists in New Brunswick and advised social workers to respond to local need rather than apply social work knowledge developed elsewhere. -- This study has significance at three levels. At a curriculum level, teaching and learning methods to promote anti-racist social work practice is provided. Sensitizing concepts can directly become curriculum content and illuminate for students different local realities, as well as suggest ways to help students to learn about these realities. At a theoretical level a process is described for reconciling elements of foundational anti-racism with anti-foundational valuing of diversity. At a political level, a process for stakeholders in social work education to influence social work curriculum development is proposed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9646
Item ID: 9646
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 336-357.
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 2000
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--New Brunswick
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Minorities in social work education--New Brunswick; Racism in social services--New Brunswick; Social work education--New Brunswick

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