The political dimension of multicultural social work education

Yochay Nadan*, Galia Weinberg-Kurnik, Adital Ben-Ari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Summary: This article explores the forces altering the political dimension of social work in one specific sphere – multicultural social work education. Politics in social work is those relationships and activities that reflect power and value differences, and which influence critical decisions about the distribution of resources, rights, access, opportunities and status (Reisch & Jani, 2012). We present and discuss the findings of a qualitative study of in-depth interviews with 25 Israeli social work educators. Findings: Data analysis indicated three processes in which the political dimension is excluded from professional discourse: giving precedence to a micro perspective over a macro approach; excluding the ‘other’ while gaining knowledge about him; and placing conflictual relations between groups outside the boundaries of discourse. Applications: Silencing ‘the political’ does not challenge social gaps and keeps social workers and their clients controlled by a wide range of oppressive and reductive forces. Examining these processes of silencing may facilitate a moral and ethical connection between knowledge and professional action. Multicultural social work education can be a rich and accessible framework for dealing with ‘the political’, relying on reflective pedagogical practices that are anti-oppressive and critical. Such practices enable problematization and politicization of multicultural discourse.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)362-379
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.


  • Social work
  • critical social work
  • diversity
  • multi-cultural perspectives
  • politics
  • silencing
  • social work education


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