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Communication, Culture and Competence in Social Work Education

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1997
JournalSocial Work Education
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish


This paper argues that the managerialist influence on the DipSW has meant that both the models of social work and of social work education that have come to dominance since it was first approved in 1989 are incompatible with the development of anti-racist practice. We explore the potential of reformulating social work as a communicative activity and the implications of this for the education of social workers. We argue that this would require an approach that incorporates three main elements: an analysis of the way in which power and disadvantage is distributed between racial groups and the ways in which this affects their ability to represent their own needs in political debate; an understanding of the ways in which the wider discourses of racial domination find expression in culture; and the development of our understanding of how intrapsychic representations of race and power come to be inscribed in mental life. It is through the interrelationship of these domains that anti-racist practice can become integral to social work.