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Social Work Practice for Social Justice:
From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression


This text is an invitation and challenge to students and practitioners to tackle the personal and institutional obstacles preventing the social work profession from realizing its mandate to promote social justice. Systemic racism is centered as the foundation oppression of our country to provide the gateway for understanding and dismantling all other systems of oppression. Garcia and Van Soest probe essential questions about how social justice theories, institutional practices, and deep-seated personal and societal belief systems function to rationalize and support oppression, and they provide numerous exercises as a guide to increased awareness, understanding, and anti-oppression action. This book replaces the earlier edition, Social Work Practice for Social Justice: Cultural Competence in Action.

The Authors



Social Work Practice for Social Justice:
From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression


Foundation and Conceptual Framework


Chapter 1
An Introduction

· What Is This Book About?

· Who Are We (the Authors)?

· What Is in This Book? How Is it Structured?

· How to Use the Exercises in This Book

· List of Reflection/Journaling Exercises,

Classroom Exercises, Assignments, Figures, Charts, and Tables

Chapter 2
The Foundation: Understanding Social Justice

· Defining Social Justice

· Beginning With Awareness, Reflection,

and Critical Thinking

· Social Justice Theory

· Critical Analysis of Diverse

Social Justice Perspectives

· Next Steps: Identifying, Analyzing,

and Responding to Social Injustice

Chapter 3
A Conceptual Framework for Anti-Oppression Social Work Practice: Uniting Cultural Diversity and Social Justice

· Elements of Anti-Oppression

Social Work Practice

· Why Is Learning About Cultural Diversity and

Social Justice So Difficult?

A Conceptual Framework for Competent Social Work Practice That Unites Cultural Diversity and Social Justice

· Conclusion

Concepts, Definitions, and Processes


Chapter 4
Understanding the Dynamics of Oppression

· From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression

Practice: Essential Concepts

and Definitions

· Structural and Interpersonal Dynamics

of Oppression

· Summary

Chapter 5
Social and Racial Identity Development in the Context of Oppression

· The Learning Process: Exploring Your

Social and Racial Identity

· Racial-Ethnic-Cultural Identity Development

· Summary: Racial Identity Development

and Anti-Oppression


Pulling it all Together


Chapter 6
Anti-Oppression Practice in Action

· Framework for Anti-Oppression Practice

· Empowerment in Action:

Allies and Accomplices

· Pulling it all Together:

A Reflection/Journaling Exercise

· Pulling it all Together: A Classroom Exercise

· Pulling it all Together: From Case to Cause

· Summary and Conclusion

Chapter 7
Commitment to Social Justice:

Beyond Nine to Five

· Responsibility to the Social Work Profession

· Responsibility to Society

· Responsibility to Self

· Empowerment: The Key to Action

· Moving Forward

· Conclusion


Social Work Practice for Social Justice:
From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression

Diversity Education for Social Justice: Mastering Teaching Skills
(2nd Edition, 2008, CSWE Press)

This second edition is an invaluable reference for critically examining the educational process inherent in the diversity-for-social-justice curriculum. It can play a central role in the preparing culturally competent social work practitioners for today and tomorrow. This updated text discusses social justice in the classroom instruction, student development, social change, and contemporary social work practice. Numerous teaching paradigms and methodologies are presented, including a chapter on using critical events in the classroom for developing cultural competence among social work students. Written to help social work educators develop culturally competent practitioners who have a commitment to promoting social and economic justice for diverse individuals and population, this text is sure to be an inspiration.


“This book at last forges the missing link: the connection between cultural diversity and cultural competence and the mission of social work education…. Van Soest and Garcia weave the themes of diversity, populations-at-risk, and social and economic justice into research, classroom interactions, and teaching methodologies. This work will serve as a major reference as social work educators prepare their lectures and course outlines in culturally competent practice.”

-Doman Lum, CDU-Sacramento

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