Anti-racist social work, context and development : refracted through the experiences of black practice teachers
This thesis represents an attempt to develop a critical analysis of the context and development of anti-racist social work in Britain, specifically refracted through the experiences and accounts of black practice teachers. It is based on an analysis of primary and secondary data relating to ‘race’, racism, anti-racism and social work. The thesis is divided into two sections. The first section, constituting the literature review, develops a detailed critique of the development of the discourses and ideology of ‘race’ and racism, and the origins and development of anti-racist social work in the UK over the past 30 years. Section Two outlines the empirical data, constituting a short postal survey and focus group discussions to build research themes, and 21 in-depth semi-structured interviews. The overall paradigm is framed within a notion of ‘critical emancipatory anti-racist research’. The research highlights sustained levels of institutional racism in social work faced by black workers and service users. It also indicates high levels of awareness of the nature and extent of racism amongst black practice teachers. The thesis is concluded by a summary of the key findings and implications for the future development of anti-racist social work. It is argued that, due to a range of socio political and organisational factors surrounding the restructuring and reorientation of social work and the emergence of new racisms, the space for anti-racist activity is becoming increasingly restricted. The thesis concludes by outlining some principles for a renewed anti-racist social work project, bearing in mind the prevailing conditions.