Karen Morgaine, Ph.D.
Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, Ph.D.. M.S.W.
We are seeking stories from activists, community organizers, social workers, and other social change agents who are doing anti-oppressive social justice work to include as “on the ground” examples of anti-oppressive social change work in action.
These stories will be considered for inclusion in an anti-oppressive social work text book that is being published by Sage Publications. We are looking for stories from people/organizations working in a diverse array of settings—from micro individual work through social movement and political lobbying work. We are open to gathering these stories in a variety of ways—you could write a short description of your work, discuss your work in a phone conversation, or possibly schedule an in-person meeting with one of us.
The purpose of the book is to prepare future social workers for practice in the social work field with a focus on social justice, privilege, oppression, and systemic issues and forces that influence all of social work practice, from micro practice to macro practice. The US has been somewhat "behind the curve" in terms of applying anti-oppressive practice principles to the field of social work, although the primary social work associations, CSWE and NASW, both highlight social work as a social justice profession.
Our distinctive approaches and pedagogical frameworks link theory with practice. These intersecting frameworks include the social construction of privilege and oppression, the concept of intersectionality drawn from feminist standpoint theories, and Freire’s pedagogical approach to education for critical consciousness. In this text, we incorporate the exploration of both privilege and disadvantage as stemming from racism, sexism, classism, ableism, hetereosexism, and other forms of systemic oppression. We hold that attention to intersectionality and diverse social locations can provide the foundation for critical consciousness and action towards social justice.
A unique approach to this book will be the systematic focus on privilege as opposed to a sole or primary focus on oppression. We believe that an over-reliance on a focus of oppression and the experiences of those who are oppressed serves to both further “other” those who experience oppression, as well as maintain privilege and systems of privilege by not shining an equal spotlight on how privilege manifests and is upheld. While privilege will be a major focus throughout, the overarching social and cultural system that maintains and reproduces inequalities will be highlighted.
Drawing from black feminist pedagogical theories, this text will provide the opportunity for student engagement with their intersecting identities, in order to identify commonalities, embrace differences, de-center privileged positions, bring to the forefront marginal experiences, and strive toward social justice. Black feminist intellectuals such as bell hooks and Audre Lorde, have both stressed the importance of inclusively, diversity, passion, and pleasure as integral parts of the learning experience for students and instructors. This text will incorporate examples of diverse community voices through readings, articles, vignettes, film suggestions, and art-based activities (collage, performance, photography) to enrich experience and to emphasize the diverse contexts in which we live. Applying creative and arts-based approaches to the concepts and material of this text contributes to valuing alternative ways of knowing, expressing and being in this world.
In the spirit of our participatory approach to pedagogy and knowledge creation in the classroom, and aligned with our goal to provide content that enhances critical student dialogue around privilege and oppression, we invite our colleagues and respected scholars/practitioners to provide case examples so that we provide a diverse array of illustrations for students. We would like to extend this invitation to various local, national and international community-based organizations, feminist organizations, human rights activist organizations, social welfare organizations, social justice groups, and other agencies working from an anti-oppressive framework.