Addressing privilege to decolonize social work education

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McNabb, David
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2021-04
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
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Aotearoa
New Zealand
social work education
privilege
decolonising social work education
counter colonialism
Māori
Citation
McNabb, D. (2021, April). Addressing privilege to decolonize social work education. Paper presented at the International Social Work Education and Development Online Conference (ISWED 2021), Online.
Abstract
The social work profession is committed to indigenous rights, social justice and the achievement of equity within human societies. It is the job of social work education to prepare and support students to work in a way that promotes these goals. Whereas a critical analysis of societal injustice is often employed that typically focuses on the disadvantage experienced by indigenous groups, the concept of privilege is helpful in analysing the advantages held by dominant settler groups as a flip side to such analysis. Research was undertaken with nine of the 19 social work programmes throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to examine how the profession’s commitment to decolonization was being demonstrated by educators. Participants included a diverse range of indigenous and non-indigenous educators who spoke about the way colonization was addressed by them, their faculty team, their institution and the profession’s regulator. The theme of privilege was raised and formed part of the practice for teaching about injustice, also for educator development and the way decolonization could be advanced more widely within their programmes. Examples are discussed and recommendations made on how the concept of privilege can be helpfully used in teaching, in staff development and more broadly in social work education programmes to promote decolonization. The roles of indigenous and non-indigenous faculty are explored. The author is a non-indigenous person committed to partnerships that advance decolonization.
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