Anti-oppressive social work theory and practice by Lena Dominelli

By Lena Dominelli

"Lena Dominelli is Professor of Social and neighborhood improvement and Director of the Centre for foreign Social and group improvement, college of Southampton, and President of the overseas organization of faculties of Social Work."--BOOK JACKET.

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In the Western world, the ideal body is likely to be cast in terms of being young, white, blond-haired, blue-eyed and athletic for men and young, white, blondhaired, blue-eyed, slim and sexy for women. Both these images of bodies are also sexualised in accordance with heterosexual norms, and 20 Anti-Oppressive Social Work Theory and Practice they are taken as being without physical or mental flaws. The objectification of the body in hegemonic discourses results in some body shapes, conditions, sizes and colours being more valued than others.

Such discourses also privilege the voice of the ruling elite at the expense of those with lower status in the prevailing social hierarchy. These dynamics underpin the social construction of oppression. Oppressive relationships encompass identity formation through power relations that draw on the categorisation of the world in dichotomous terms, whereby one person or group of people is defined as superior or dominant and the other(s) as inferior or subordinate according to the values ascribed to particular attributes and social positions.

As a result of its focus on meeting manufactured needs, consumerism has grown, with little regard for the failure of the capitalist system to meet the needs of large proportions of the world’s population to have sufficient food to eat or clean water to drink (UNDP, 1998), and in blatant disregard of the physical environment which is being exploited for the appropriation of resources which will yield substantial profits (Wichterich, 2000) to a limited number of people. At the same time, identity has been commodified and brought to market.

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