'What Are We To Do About Difference?': Race, Culture and the Ethical Encounter

Ethics and Social Welfare 5 (3):247-265 (2011)
Abstract
This paper is based on the findings from a study in which social workers in healthcare settings were asked for their perspectives on cultural and racial difference as these apply to their practice with racialized clients. In examining the varied practice philosophies and approaches they employ, we find that older practice models based on problematized knowledge about racialized Others are being, alternately, reinstated and contested. In grappling with how to practise, participants describe approaches that, in many cases, effectively individualize clients and ignore hierarchies and systems of domination. Following Sarah Ahmed's work on ethical encounters (Strange Encounters, Routledge, London, 2000), we argue for a socially and historically informed consideration of power relations as they shape professional practice
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