Defining, teaching, and practising diversity: Another hegemonic discourse?
Keywords:Diversity, social work profession, professional practice, competencies
INTRODUCTION: Respect for diversity is a primary principle of the social work profession; however, the term diversity has been critiqued as meaningless and is often linked with cultural competence. Gaps in terminology, education, and knowledge about how to practise diversity have been identified in health and social practice literature, while attempts to teach diversity have uncertain results. The research question guiding this master’s study was “What are the factors that inform Aotearoa social workers’ practice when engaging with diversity?”
METHODOLOGY: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of four practising social workers to explore what informed their diversity practice. An inductive thematic analysis of the interview data was undertaken. Numerous themes and sub-themes were identified and grouped into seven thematic categories.
FINDINGS: For research participants, the term diversity exists only in the discursive; and it “gets in the way” of practice. While acknowledging the importance of education and practice with Te Tiriti, participants could not seem to connect this knowledge with diversity and associated practices. The authors suggest that the definition of diversity for the purposes of social work education and competency frameworks requires a more critical approach: its associations with power, and its tendency to describe and classify otherwise complex, fluid, contextual identities. Aotearoa New Zealand social work education must also engage in critical analysis of monocultural, hegemonic discourse and power relationships through te Tiriti frameworks to prepare all students for practice with diversity in a bicultural context.
Adelowo, A., Smythe, L., & Nakhid, C. (2016). Deciding to migrate: Stories of African immigrant women living in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 28(1), 52–58.
Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers. (2014). ANZASW social work practice standards: Enhancing competent social work practice. https://anzasw.nz/wp-content/uploads/Practice- Standard-Publication-Full-Nov-14.pdf
Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers. (2019). Code of ethics. https://anzasw.nz/wp-content/ uploads/Code-of-Ethics-Adopted-30-Aug-2019.pdf
Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social science research: principles, methods, and practices. Textbooks Collection. Book 3. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/oa_textbooks/3
Boulton, A., & Cvitanovic, L. (2021). Māori centred social work practice: Evidence brief. https://www. orangatamariki.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/About-us/ Research/Latest-research/Maori-centred-social-work- practice-v2/Maori-centred-social-work-practice.pdf
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2)77–101. http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11735
Bryman, A. (2016). Quantitative and qualitative research: Further reflections on their integration. In J. Brannen. (Ed.). Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research. Routledge.
Came, H., Doole, C., McKenna, B., & McCreanor, T. (2018). Institutional racism in public health contracting: Findings of a nationwide survey from New Zealand. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 199, 132–139. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.002
Craig, G. (2002). Poverty, social work and social justice. British Journal of Social Work, 32(6), 669–682.
Czaika, M., & de Haas, H. (2010). The globalization of migration: Has the world become more migratory? International Migration Review, 48(2), 283–323.
Danso, R. (2016). Cultural competence and cultural humility: A critical reflection on key cultural diversity concepts. Journal of Social Work, 18(4), 1–21. https://doi:10.1177/1468017316654341
Featherstone, B. (2009). Diversity and performance: A research view. British Journal of Community Justice, 7(3), 11–15. https://search-proquest-om.whitireia.idm.oclc.org/docview/203672508?accountid=180369
Fook, J., & Gardner, F. (2007). Practising critical reflection: A resource handbook. Open University Press.
Fraser, S., & Briggs, L. (2016). Bi-culturalism and accountability: Fundamental changes in social work practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 1984 – 1990. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work 28(1), 43–51.
Hetaraka, M. (2019). A kaupapa Māori analysis of Tātaiako: Considering Māori education policy. MAI Journal, 8(2), 160–171.
Hobbs, M., Ahuriri-Driscoll, A., Lukas, M., Campbell, M., Tomintz, M., & Kingham, S. (2019). Reducing health inequity for Māori people in New Zealand. The Lancet, 394(10209), 1613–1614. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30044-3
Houkamau, C. A., & Sibley, C. G. (2010). The multi- dimensional model of Māori identity and cultural engagement. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 39(1), 8–28.
International Association of Schools of Social Work. (2018). IASSW’s message for peaceful engagement with social justice: Opposing and condemning intolerance and violence. https://www.iassw-aiets.org/
International Association of Schools of Social Work. (2020). Global standards for social work education and training. https://www.iassw-aiets.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ IASSW-Global_Standards_Final.pdf
International Association of Schools of Social Work & International Federation of Social Workers. (2014). Global definition of social work. https://www.iassw-aiets. org/global-definition-of-social-work-review-of-the-global- definition/
International Association of Schools of Social Work & International Federation of Social Workers. (2018). Global social work statement of ethical principles.
at: https://www.iassw-aiets.org/2018/04/18/global-social- work-statement-of-ethical-principles-iassw/
International Federation of Social Work. (2012). Global standards. http://ifsw.org/policies/global-standards/
Jeyasingham, D. (2012). White noise: A critical evaluation of social work education’s engagement with Whiteness studies. British Journal of Social Work, 42(4), 669–686. https://doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcr110
Johnson, Y. M., & Munch, S. (2009). Fundamental contradictions in cultural competence. Social Work, (54)3, 220–231.
Kelly, S., Beaumont, S., & Arcus, K. (2020). The word gets in the way. Sociological social work with diversity: A turn from the discursive. The International Journal of Diversity in Education, 21(1), 51–65. https://doi:10.18848/2327- 0020/CGP/v21i01/51-65
Kelly, S. M. (2002). Weaving whakapapa and narrative in the management of contemporary Ngai Tahu identities [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Canterbury University.
Lenette, C. (2014). Teaching cultural diversity in first year human services and social work: The impetus for embedding a cultural safety framework. A practice report. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 5(1), 117–123.
Maykut, P., & Morehouse, R. (1994). Beginning qualitative research: A philosophical and practical guide. The Falmer Press.
McIntosh, T. (2005). Māori identities: Fixed, fluid, forced. In J. H. Liu, T. McCreanor, T. Mcintosh, & T. Teaiwa (Eds.). New Zealand identities: Departures and destinations (pp. 38–51). Victoria University Press.
McNabb, D. (2019). A treaty-based framework for mainstream social work education in Aotearoa New Zealand: Educators talk about their practice. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 31(4), 4–17. https://doi. org/10.11157/anzswj-vol31iss4id667
Ministry of Health. (2015). Tatau kahukura: Māori health chart book 2015 (3rd ed.). https://www.health.govt.nz/ publication/tatau-kahukura-maori-health-chart-book- 2015-3rd-edition
New Zealand Social Workers Training Council (February, 1984). Report. News and Views [Newsletter of the New Zealand Association of Social Workers], 3-4.
Olcoń, K., Gilbert, D. J., & Pulliam, R. M. (2020). Teaching about racial and ethnic diversity in social work education: A systematic review. Journal of Social Work Education, 56(2), 215–237. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2019. 1656578
Pack, M., & Brown, P. (2017). Educating on anti-oppressive practice with gender and sexual minority elders: Nursing and social work perspectives. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(2), 108–118.
Padgett, D. K. (2017). Qualitative methods in social work research (3rd ed.). Sage Publications.
Payne, M. (2020). Modern social work theory (5th ed.). Macmillan Science & Education.
Ramsden, I. (2002). Cultural safety in nursing education in Aotearoa and Te Waipounamu. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Victoria University of Wellington. https://www.croakey.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ RAMSDEN-I-Cultural-Safety_Full.pdf
Richardson, F. I. (2010). Cultural safety in nursing education and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Massey University.
Saunders, J. A., Haskins, M., & Vasquez, M. (2015). Cultural competence: A journey to an elusive goal. Journal of Social Work Education, 51(1), 19–34. https://doi:10.1080 /10437797.2015.977124
Sewpaul, V., & Henrickson, M. (2019). The (r)evolution and decolonization of social work ethics: The global social work statement of ethical principles. International Social Work, 62(6), 1469–1481. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872819846238
Sinclair, A., & Evans, M. (2015). Difference and leadership. In B. Carroll, J. Ford, & S. Taylor (Eds.), Leadership: Contemporary critical perspectives (pp. 130–149). Sage Publications.
Social Worker Registration Board. (2016). Code of conduct. http://swrb.govt.nz/concerns-and-information/code-of- conduct/
Social Worker Registration Board. (2021). Core competence standards. https://swrb.govt.nz/practice/core- competence-standards/
Southwick, M., & Polaschek, N. (2014). Reconstructing marginality: A new model of cultural diversity in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(5), 249–255. https://doi:10.3928/01484834-20140415-01
Stenhouse, R. (2021). Understanding equality and diversity in nursing practice. (2021). Nursing Standard (2014+), 36(2), 27–33. http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns.2020.e11562
Stevenson, B. (2001). The relationship between Māori cultural identity and health [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Massey University.
Stirling, B., Furman, L. D., Benson, P. W., Canda, E. R., & Grimwood, C. (2010). A comparative survey of Aotearoa New Zealand and UK social workers on the role of religion and spirituality in practice. The British Journal of Social Work, 40(2), 602–621. https://doi:10.1093/bjsw/ bcp008
Testa, D. (2017). Hospital, nationality, and culture: Social workers, experiences, and reflections. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(2), 96–107.
Walker, S. (2012). The teaching of Māori social work practice and theory to a predominantly Pākehā audience. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 24(3), 65–74.
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.