Creating space for critical feminist social work pedagogy
Keywords:critical feminist pedagogy, intersectionality, social work education, critical hope, imagination
INTRODUCTION: The practice and teaching of western social work is shaped within the institutional context of a predominately managerial higher education sector and neoliberal societal context that valorises the individual. Critical feminist social work educators face constraints and challenges when trying to imagine, co-construct, enact and improve ways to engage in the communal relationality of critical feminist pedagogy.
APPROACH: In this article, the authors draw upon the literature and use a reflective, inductive approach to explore and analyse observations made about efforts to engage with a subversive pedagogy whilst surviving in the neoliberal academy.
CONCLUSION: While the article draws on experiences of social work teaching and research in a regional Australian university, the matters explored are likely to have resonance for social work education in other parts of the world. A tentative outline for thinking about the processes involved in co-creating a critical feminist pedagogical practice is offered.
Allan, J., Briskman, L., & Pease, B. (Eds). (2009). Critical social work: Theories for a socially just world (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Baiada, C., & Jensen-Moulton, S. (2006). Building a home for feminist pedagogy. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 34(3/4), 287–290.
Bennett, B. (2013). The importance of Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander history for social work students and graduates. In B. Bennett, S. Green, S. Gilbert, & D. Bessarab (Eds.), Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work (pp. 1-22). South Yarra, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bennett, B. (2015). “Stop deploying your white privilege on me!”Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement with the Australian Association of Social Workers. Australian Social Work, 68(1), 19–31.
Bennett, B., Green, S., Gilbert, S., & Bessarab, D. (2013). Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work. South Yarra, VIC: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bennett, B., Redfern, H., & Zubrzycki, J. (2017). Cultural responsiveness in action: Co-constructing social work curriculum resources with Aboriginal Communities. The British Journal of Social Work, 48(3), 808–825.
Bessant, J. (2014). “Smoking guns”: Reflections on truth and politics in the university. In M. Thornton (Ed.), Through a glass darkly: The social sciences look at the neoliberal university (pp. 463–516). Canberra, ACT: Australian National University Press.
Blackmore, J. (2007). Equity and social justice in Australian education systems: Retrospect and prospect. In W. Pink & G. Noblit (Eds.), International handbook of urban education (pp. 249–264). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Borshuk, C. (2017). Managing student disclosure in class settings: Lessons from feminist pedagogy. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 17(1), 78–86.
Briskin, L., & Coulter, R. (1992). Feminist pedagogy: Challenging the normative. Canadian Journal of Education, 17(3), 247–263.
Burke, P. (2015). Re/imagining higher education pedagogies: Gender, emotion and difference. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(4), 388–401. doi:10.1080/13562517.2015.1020782
Chung, Y. (2016). A feminist pedagogy through online education. Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 22(4), 372–391.
Clegg, S., & David, M. (2006). Passion, pedagogies and the project of the personal in higher education. Twenty-First Century Society, 1(2), 149–165. doi:10.1080/17450140600906989
Collins, P. H. (2009). Foreword: Emerging intersections, building knowledge and transforming institutions. In B. Dill & R. Zambana (Eds.), Emerging intersections: Race, class and Gender in theory, policy and practice (pp. VII–XIII). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP.
Crabtree, R., & Sapp, D. (2003). Theoretical, political, and pedagogical challenges in the feminist classroom: Our struggles to walk the walk. College Teaching, 51(4), 131–140.
Cuesta, M., & Witt, K. (2014). How gender conscious pedagogy in higher education can stimulate actions for social justice in society, Social Inclusion, 2(1), 12–23.
David, M. (2004). Feminist sociology and feminist knowledges: Contribution to higher education pedagogies and processional practices in the knowledge economy, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 14(2), 99–124. doi:10.1080/0962021040020121
David, M. (2015). Gender & education association: A case study in feminist education? Gender and Education, 27(7), 928–946. doi:10.1080/09540253.2015.1096923.
Dore, M. (1994). Feminist pedagogy and the teaching of social work practice. Journal of Social Work Education, 30(1), 97–106.
Finn, J. L., & Jacobson, M. (2003). Just practice: Steps toward a new social work paradigm. Journal of Social Work Education, 39(1), 57–78.
Fook, J. (2012). Social work: A critical approach to practice (2nd ed.). London, UK: SAGE Publications.
Forrest, L., & Rosenberg, F. (1997). A review of the feminist pedagogy literature: The neglected child of feminist psychology. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 6(1), 179–192.
Gray, M., & Boddy, J. (2010). Making sense of the waves: Wipeout or still riding high? Affilia, 25(4), 368–189.
Green, S., & Baldry, E. (2008). Building indigenous Australian social work. Australian Social Work, 61(4), 389–402.
Green, S., & Baldry, E. (2013). Indigenous social work education in Australia. In B. Bennett, S. Green, S. Gilbert, & D. Bessarab (Eds.), Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work (pp. 166–177). South Yarra, VIC: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hesse-Biber, S. (2014). Feminist research practice: A primer (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Hil, R. (2012). Whackademia: An insider's account of the troubled university. Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing.
Hosken, N. (2017). Exploring the organisation of social injustice in Australian social work education (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Tasmania, Tasmania.
Kovacs, P., Hutchison, E., Collins, K., & Linde, L. B. (2013). Norming or transforming: Feminist pedagogy and social work competencies. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 28(3), 229–239.
Land, C. (2012). The politics of solidarity with indigenous struggles in Southeast Australia (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Deakin University, VIC, Australia.
Land, C. (2015). Decolonizing solidarity: Dilemmas and directions for supporters of indigenous struggles. London, UK: Zed Books.
Lederach, J. (2005). The moral imagination: The art and soul of building peace, Vol. 3. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Lorde, A. (2007). Sister outsider. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group.
Luke, C. (1996). Feminist pedagogy theory: Reflections on power and authority. Educational Theory, 46(3), 283–302.
Macfarlane, S. (2016). Education for critical social work: Being true to a worthy project. In B. Pease, S. Goldingay, N. Hosken, & S. Nipress (Eds.), Doing critical social work: Transformative practices for social justice Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
McCusker, G. (2017). A feminist teacher’s account of her attempts to achieve the goals of feminist pedagogy, Gender and Education, 29(4), 445–460. doi:10.1080/09540253.2017.1290220
Mills, C. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Morley, C. (2009). Using critical reflection to improve feminist practice. In J. Allan, L. Briskman, & B. Pease (Eds.), Critical social work: Theories and practices for a socially just world (2nd ed., pp. 149–159). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., … Hamilton, T. (2015). For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(4), 1235–1259.
Payne, M. (2014). Modern social work theory (4th ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pease, B., Goldingay, S., Hosken, N., & Nipperess, S. (2016). Doing critical social work: Transformative practices for social justice. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Shrewsbury, C. (1998). What is feminist pedagogy? In M. Rogers (Ed.), Contemporary feminist theory (pp. 167–171). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Smith, D. E. (1987). The everyday world as problematic: A feminist sociology. Toronto, ONT: University of Toronto Press.
Smith. D. (2005). Institutional ethnography: A sociology for people. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Sprague, J. (2005). Feminist methodologies for critical researchers: Bridging differences. Lanham, MD: AltaMira.
Webber, M. (2006). Transgressive pedagogies? Exploring the difficult realities of enacting feminist pedagogies in undergraduate classrooms in a Canadian university. Studies in Higher Education, 31(4), 453–467. doi:10.1080/03075070600800582
Wendt, S., & Moulding, N. (2006). Contemporary feminisms in social work practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wickramasinghe, M. (2009). Feminist research methodology: Making meanings of meaning-making. London, UK: Routledge.
Ylöstalo, H., & Brunila, K. (2017). Exploring the possibilities of gender equality pedagogy in an era of marketization. Gender and Education, 30(7), 917–933. doi:10.1080/09540253.2017.1376042
Zubrzycki, J., Green, S., Jones, V., Stratton, K., Young, S., & Bessarab, D. (2014). Getting it right: Creating partnerships for change: Integrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges in social work education and practice: Teaching and Learning Framework. Sydney, NSW: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
By completing the online submission process, you confirm you accept this agreement. The following is the entire agreement between you and the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) and it may be modified only in writing.
You and any co-authors
If you are completing this agreement on behalf of co-authors, you confirm that you are acting on their behalf with their knowledge.
By submitting the work you are:
- granting the ANZASW the right of first publication of this work;
- confirming that the work is original; and
- confirming that the work has not been published in any other form.
Once published, you are free to use the final, accepted version in any way, as outlined below under Copyright.
You assign copyright in the final, accepted version of your article to the ANZASW. You and any co-authors of the article retain the right to be identified as authors of the work.
The ANZASW will publish the final, accepted manuscript under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 4.0). This licence allows anyone – including you – to share, copy, distribute, transmit, adapt and make commercial use of the work without needing additional permission, provided appropriate attribution is made to the original author or source.
A human-readable summary of the licence is available from http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, which includes a link to the full licence text.
Under this licence you can use the final, published version of the article freely – such as depositing a copy in your institutional research repository, uploading a copy to your profile on an academic networking site or including it in a different publication, such as a collection of articles on a topic or in conference proceedings – provided that original publication in Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work is acknowledged.
This agreement has no effect on any pre-publication versions or elements, which remain entirely yours, and to which we claim no right.
Reviewers hold copyright in their own comments and should not be further copied in any way without their permission.
The copyright of others
If your article includes the copyright material of others (e.g. graphs, diagrams etc.), you confirm that your use either:
- falls within the limits of fair dealing for the purposes of criticism and review or fair use; OR
- that you have gained permission from the rights holder for publication in an open access journal.