CRITICAL SOCIAL WORK SOCW4003 Direct Methods of Practice 2010 Linda Smith
<ul><li>If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, a...
Introduction to critical thinking  (Garvin and Seabury, 1997:44) * critical thinking around various constructs * lack of a...
<ul><li>Description of critical thinking   (Kirst-Ashman, 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>scrutiny of what is stated as true, and ...
Critical consciousness “ process of continuous self-reflection coupled  with action to discover and uncover how we, our  a...
<ul><li>Critical consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>deepening critical consciousness skills toward socially just  </li></ul><...
<ul><li>THE POLITICS OF HELPING </li></ul><ul><li>“ The two men… were psychologists who put to practice their professions ...
<ul><li>Helping is political in itself – as an oppressive instrument or as a means of progressive politics </li></ul><ul><...
<ul><li>WHAT IS CRITICAL THEORY? Early critical theory is broadly Marxist. It is the account of the social forces of domin...
<ul><li>Critical theory: “Truth as unmasking”   (Higgs and Smith (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>philosophy that claims truth cre...
<ul><li>Critical theory: “Truth as unmasking”  Higgs and Smith (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>1970’s, 80’s - critical theory ‘dr...
<ul><li>CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL WORK THEORY </li></ul><ul><li>(Payne, 2005:3 –23) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>   ...
Reflexive-therapeutic view (therapeutic helping) Individualist-reformist  Socialist-collectivist (maintenance or social or...
FRAMEWORKS FOR ANALYSING THEORIES   Theories of radical change        Radical SW  Marxist SW ‘ consciousness raisers’  ‘re...
<ul><li>Principles of critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>most are advantaged and disadvantaged by some  group identities,...
<ul><li>Principles of critical thinking (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>acknowledge and manage feelings connected with incom...
<ul><li>Four presuppositions of the critical social science paradigm: </li></ul><ul><li>Macro-social structures shape soci...
DISCUSSION EXERCISE: FOUR SUPPOSITIONS OF THE CRITICAL SOCIAL SCIENCE PARADIGM Macro-social structures shape social relati...
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Critical Sem 1

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Critical Sem 1

  1. 1. CRITICAL SOCIAL WORK SOCW4003 Direct Methods of Practice 2010 Linda Smith
  2. 2. <ul><li>If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are (wo)men who want crops without plowing up the group. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are proscribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. </li></ul><ul><li>(Bulhan, 1985:276) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction to critical thinking (Garvin and Seabury, 1997:44) * critical thinking around various constructs * lack of attention to differences, oppression * social group membership: age, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, race, social class, disability * ‘the other’ and ourselves * problems arise - absence attention to this knowledge * power differences, discrimination, transformative work * group membership, how reinforced/denigrated - social, political historical contexts * therapeutic experiences harmful if not culturally compatible or reinforce power imbalances * positionality (group identities, experiences) + standpoint (outsider/insider status) influence expectations + development of critical consciousness
  4. 4. <ul><li>Description of critical thinking (Kirst-Ashman, 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>scrutiny of what is stated as true, and conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>formulation of opinion/conclusion; focuses on the </li></ul><ul><li>“ process of reasoning” </li></ul><ul><li>how people think about the truth, analyse and </li></ul><ul><li>formulate conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>question what others take for granted </li></ul><ul><li>“ triple A approach”: Ask; Assess; Assert </li></ul><ul><li>apply to any belief, statement, assumption, reasoning, </li></ul><ul><li>experience claimed as true </li></ul><ul><li>enhances self-awareness; detection distorted thinking </li></ul><ul><li>help identify propaganda; distinguish intentionally </li></ul><ul><li>deceptive claims; choose words carefully </li></ul>
  5. 5. Critical consciousness “ process of continuous self-reflection coupled with action to discover and uncover how we, our approaches to social work practice and our environment have been and continue to be shaped by societal assumptions and power dynamics” (Garvin and Seabury, 1997:46)
  6. 6. <ul><li>Critical consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>deepening critical consciousness skills toward socially just </li></ul><ul><li>society </li></ul><ul><li>understanding of critical consciousness - work of Paulo </li></ul><ul><li>Freire </li></ul><ul><li>experiencing, analyzing, reflecting on life, history, </li></ul><ul><li>environment </li></ul><ul><li>“ becoming subject rather than object of own history” </li></ul><ul><li>object to subject, victim to social agent: “conscientisation” </li></ul><ul><li>routes to critical consciousness depending on histories, </li></ul><ul><li>how raised, ‘insider’/‘outsider’ characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>use knowledge from one category to understand another </li></ul><ul><li>social group membership affects access to societal </li></ul><ul><li>resources + mobility in society </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>THE POLITICS OF HELPING </li></ul><ul><li>“ The two men… were psychologists who put to practice their professions in ways that made history and affected the lives of millions… Verwoerd was a staunch white supremist, a Nazi sympathizer, an avowed anti-Semite, and a leading architect of apartheid… Fanon, in contrast, was a relentless champion of social justice, who, when barely 17… volunteered for the forces attempting the liberation of France from Nazi occupation” </li></ul><ul><li>Bulhan (1985, p.3) </li></ul><ul><li>Hook, D. (Ed). (2004). Introduction to critical psychology . Cape Town: UCT Press </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Helping is political in itself – as an oppressive instrument or as a means of progressive politics </li></ul><ul><li>Power relations include relations of control, authority and subordination </li></ul><ul><li>Helping (psychology, social work) is always powerful, always leads to relationships of power </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge, expertise, practice always includes some form of power relationship </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>WHAT IS CRITICAL THEORY? Early critical theory is broadly Marxist. It is the account of the social forces of domination that takes its theoretical activity to be practically connected to the object of its study… Critical theory is not merely descriptive, it is a way to instigate social change by providing knowledge of the forces of social inequality that can, in turn, inform political action aimed at emancipation (or at least diminishing domination and inequality). (Rush, 2004:10) Rush, F. (Ed). (2004). The cambridge companion to critical theory. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Critical theory: “Truth as unmasking” (Higgs and Smith (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>philosophy that claims truth created and uncreated by human beings – truth often serves the status quo </li></ul><ul><li>who tells us what is true and false </li></ul><ul><li>why are certain groups so priveleged </li></ul><ul><li>where do we get our ideas from </li></ul><ul><li>why do we accept such serious inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>who gains from this version of truth? </li></ul><ul><li>Critical theory developed from the late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><li>Social problems challenged the belief that all was well in western democracies </li></ul><ul><li>African colonies began demanding political autonomy </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Critical theory: “Truth as unmasking” Higgs and Smith (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>1970’s, 80’s - critical theory ‘driving force’ behind new </li></ul><ul><li>forms of marxism, feminism and black consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>influenced by society and context - far more than </li></ul><ul><li>we realise </li></ul><ul><li>structure of thinking processes result of social forces </li></ul><ul><li>transformation through praxis - critically reflecting </li></ul><ul><li>on society, uncover hidden assumptions that maintain </li></ul><ul><li>existing power relationships </li></ul><ul><li>discover what enslaves people </li></ul><ul><li>begin to alter social reality by how we participate in it </li></ul><ul><li>liberated from oppression once conscious of how </li></ul><ul><li>oppression operates (critical consciousness) </li></ul><ul><li>critical theory and practice developed by Freire (1921-94) - </li></ul><ul><li>teaching and schools do not educate, make learners </li></ul><ul><li>accept power structures </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL WORK THEORY </li></ul><ul><li>(Payne, 2005:3 –23) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  SW practice is a process of deciding action </li></ul><ul><li>from variety of alternative positions </li></ul><ul><li>SW’s need to have ideas that try to explain why </li></ul><ul><li>and how practice decisions are made </li></ul><ul><li>disagreement about what social work is, and </li></ul><ul><li>different groups argue for and against different </li></ul><ul><li>views </li></ul>
  13. 13. Reflexive-therapeutic view (therapeutic helping) Individualist-reformist Socialist-collectivist (maintenance or social order) (emancipatory/transformational)
  14. 14. FRAMEWORKS FOR ANALYSING THEORIES Theories of radical change     Radical SW Marxist SW ‘ consciousness raisers’ ‘revolutionaries’   Subjective Objective Interactionist Traditional SW ‘ seekers after meaning’ ‘fixers’ Theories of regulation
  15. 15. <ul><li>Principles of critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>most are advantaged and disadvantaged by some group identities, but issues differ outsider/insider categories </li></ul><ul><li>gaining knowledge about discrimination and oppression + guarding against bias ongoing + lifelong </li></ul><ul><li>learn about culturally shaped assumptions - not impose unknowingly, </li></ul><ul><li>core values and standards </li></ul><ul><li>recognize how bias is structured into policies, practices and norms about social interactions – institutionalized racism – than we do to perceive individual prejudice </li></ul><ul><li>question the knowledge base and theories that underlie our practice </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Principles of critical thinking (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>acknowledge and manage feelings connected with incomplete understandings , identity negotiations, interactions to develop our critical consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>recognize non-conscious learnings shaped by oppressive societal dynamics </li></ul><ul><li>be yourself and be genuine while working on critical consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>reduce communication problems + destructive power related dynamics, use knowledge about how characteristics affect others similar + different </li></ul><ul><li>incorporate knowledge of contexts of different identity categories </li></ul><ul><li>understanding + competence about dimensions of concern, moves in cyclical patterns </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Four presuppositions of the critical social science paradigm: </li></ul><ul><li>Macro-social structures shape social relations at every level of life </li></ul><ul><li>The world is divided between haves and have nots and that the interests of these groups are opposed and irreconcilable </li></ul><ul><li>The oppressed are complicit in their oppression </li></ul><ul><li>Its emphasis is on empowering oppressed people to act, collectively, to achieve social change </li></ul>
  18. 18. DISCUSSION EXERCISE: FOUR SUPPOSITIONS OF THE CRITICAL SOCIAL SCIENCE PARADIGM Macro-social structures shape social relations at every level of life The world is divided between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ and the interests of these groups are opposed and irreconcilable The oppressed are complicit in their oppression Its emphasis is on empowering oppressed people to act, collectively, to achieve social change

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