Whose culture is it anyway? Social working within a rural community

Pam Smith


When we consider culture one initially thinks of one’s ethnic belonging, but culture also relates to historical, social and familial influences resulting in shared values and beliefs by people living within the same physical and often isolated location. This is what defines a rural culture. These beliefs, experiences and conditions need to be recognised by social workers while working with rural families.

This idea of culture is considered within a study held on change in a rural community carried out in Western Southland, New Zealand in 2009. One of the topics explored was the participants’ perception of culture. The discussions with these older citizens are explored alongside other recent rural studies and the participants’ perception of culture. The social worker’s role working within this environment is then explored.


social work practice; rural; culture;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol25iss1id90


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