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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2008): Social care - overseas

The intersection of cultural practices and ethics in a rights-based society: implications for South African social workers

E. Ross

International Social Work, vol. 51, 2008, p. 384-395

The past decade has witnessed increasing recognition of the limitations of using British and American paradigms of social work in an African context and the need to develop appropriate indigenous teaching and interventions based on African cultural beliefs. This article explores the ethical dilemmas that confront social workers when dealing with conflicts between traditional African beliefs and customs and Western views on human and animal rights in the context of traditional medicine, ritual animal slaughter, organ donation, and virginity testing.

New public management and social work in Sweden and England: challenges and opportunities for staff in predominantly female organizations

E.E.B. Berg, J.J.J. Barry and J.J.P. Chandler

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 28, 2008, p. 114-128

This paper aims to explore the issues for middle-level social work managers arising from the introduction of managerialism, with its emphasis on work intensification, performance management and delivery of cost efficiency gains. The introduction of new public management is generally thought to have affected social workers adversely. However interviews with six social work managers (3 Swedish, 3 English) showed that they are comfortable dealing with budgets and enjoy the autonomy that this gives them in dealing with subordinates. They see the management skills they have gained as being transferable to other areas, thereby opening up new career opportunities.

Reflections on human rights and professional solidarity: a case study of Eritrea

D. Hölscher and S.Y. Berhane

International Social Work, vol. 51, 2008, p. 311-323

This article begins by describing the systematic violation of Eritreans' civil and political rights by their government. Social workers in Eritrea can either implement oppressive government policies without criticism, rebel and face arrest, or leave the country. In spite of commitments by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) to promote human rights and professional solidarity, they have failed to publicly condemn violations in Eritrea or to support Eritrean social workers.

South African social work education: critical imperatives for social change in the post-apartheid and post-colonial context

L. Smith

International Social Work, vol. 51, 2008, p. 371-383

While South Africa has achieved impressive liberation from apartheid over the past 13 years, extreme poverty, structural oppression and skewed power relations remain. In this context social workers try to participate in the national project of building a better life for all. Social work education in South Africa dates back to the 1930s and has been based on British and American models. It has produced professionals whose practice has oppressed, diminished and subjugated other human beings. Social work training in modern South Africa needs to enlighten students so that they become conscious of internalised and external forms of oppression and discrimination, and can move towards anti-oppressive forms of practice.

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