How to (Un)-Learn Cultural (In)-Competency in Social Work: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Cultural Competency Trainings in Community Mental Health

Fatima Tahir

Abstract


This research project seeks to investigate the ways in which professional cultural competency training in social work settings perpetuates mainstream stereotypes of racialised clients and to deconstruct how non-white communities are represented in within these models. Using critical race theory (CRT) and social justice lenses, the study entails conducting a critical discourse analysis (CDA) with thematic and framing analyses to deconstructed a community mental health organisation’s cultural competency training derived from a ‘cultural competency resource kit’ by the Alberta Health Service’s (2009). The research engages in an exploration of existing cultural competency literature in social work in order to highlight themes of whiteness and diversity. The findings of the study address gaps in existing cultural competency scholarship and unpack dominant discourses of whiteness and homogenisation that continue to perpetuate racial oppression and injustice for racialised individuals and communities who access social services. The paper concludes by acknowledging that the idea of ‘cultural competency’ can never be congruent with critical social work pedagogy and practice and provides clinical implications for future social work practice.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Abrams, L. S., & Moio, J. A. (2009). Critical race and the cultural competence dilemma in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 45(2), 245-261.

Alberta Health Services. (2009). Enhancing Cultural Competency: A Resource Kit for Health Care Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.multiculturalmentalhealth.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2013/10/Enhancing_Cultural_Competency_Resource_Kit1.pdf.

Alvarez-Hernandez, L. R., & Choi, Y. J. (2017). Reconceptualizing culture in social work practice and education: A dialectic and uniqueness awareness approach. Journal of Social Work Education, 53(3), 384-398.

Azzopardi, C., & McNeill, T. (2016). From cultural competence to cultural consciousness: Transitioning to a critical approach to working across differences in social work. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(4), 282-299.

Barbour, R. (2014). Introducing qualitative research: A student guide (2nd Ed.) Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Brach, C., & Fraserirector, I. (2000). Can cultural competency reduce racial and ethnic health disparities? A review and conceptual model. Medical Care Research and Review, 57(1_suppl), 181-217.

Clark, M.C., & Shraf, B.F. (2007). The dark side of truth(s): Ethical dilemmas in researching the personal. Qualitative Inquiry, 13, 399-416.

Collins, S. & Arthur, N. (2010). Culture-Infused Counseling: A Model for Developing Multicultural Competence. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 23, 217-233.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.): Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory,159-194. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Creed, W.D., Langstraat, J.A., & Scully, M.A. (2002). A picture of a frame: Frame analysis as technique and as politics. Organizational Research Methods, 51(1), 34-55.

Fisher-Borne, M., Cain, J. M., & Martin, S. L. (2015). From mastery to accountability: Cultural humility as an alternative to cultural competence. Social Work Education, 34, 165–181.

Furlong, M., & Wight, J. (2011). Promoting “critical awareness” and critiquing “cultural competence”: Towards disrupting received professional knowledges. Australian Social Work, 64, 38–54.

Garran, A. M., & Werkmeister Rozas, L. (2013). Cultural competence revisited. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 22(2), 97-111.

Hollinsworth, D. (2013). Forget cultural competence; Ask for an autobiography. Social Work Education, 32(8), 1048-1060.

Jani, J., Pierce D., Ortiz, L. & Sowbel, L. (2011). Access to intersectionality, content to competence: Deconstructing social work education diversity standards. Journal of Social Work Education, 47, 283-301.

Jeffery, D. (2005). “What good is anti-racist social work if you can’t master it?” Exploring a paradox in anti-racist social work education. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8, 409-425.

Mlcek, S. (2014). Are we doing enough to develop cross-cultural competencies for social work? British Journal of Social Work, 44(7), 1984-2003.

Museus, S.D., Ledesma, M.C., & Parker, T.L. (2015). Racism and racial equity in higher education. Wiley Online Library, 42(1), 1-112.

Nakoka, S., & Ortiz, L. (2019). Examining racial microaggressions as a tool for transforming social work education: The case for critical race pedagogy. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 27(1), 72-85.

Park, Y. (2000). Culture as a deficit: A Critical discourse analysis of the concept of culture in contemporary social work discourse. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 32, 11-33.

Small, E., Nikolova, S. P., & Sharma, B. B. (2017). Cultural competency in the global setting: Are social work students prepared to serve in a culturally diverse world? British Journal of Social Work, 47(3), 666-682.

Van Djik, T. (1993). Principles of critical discourse analysis. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 249-283.

Yan, M. C., & Wong, Y-L. R. (2005). Rethinking self-awareness in cultural competence: Toward a dialogic self in cross-cultural social work. Families in Society: the Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 86, 181-188.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

ISSN 2209-0878