Session: Counter-Narrative in Social Work: Critical Research and Practice in Israel (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

103 Counter-Narrative in Social Work: Critical Research and Practice in Israel

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 6:30 PM-7:30 PM
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Symposium Organizer:
Michal Krumer-Nevo, PhD, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
The term 'critical social work' can be applied to a variety of social work practice models derived from a host of critical social theories and approaches. Among these are the radical, Marxist, socialist, structuralist, feminist, anti-oppressive, human-rights-based, postmodern, poverty-aware, and post-structuralist approaches. Common to all these are their goal of enhancing social justice by perceiving social work as a political activity (i.e., as taking place in an arena of power relations) and their criticism of the social status quo and the role social workers play in maintaining it. Committed to this aim, the proposed symposium will present four studies that bridge theory, research, and practice using different critical conceptual frameworks. The links between the material and relational/symbolic aspects of the world and between research, policy, and practice run through all four studies. The first study, which will be presented by Einat Vager-Atias, utilizes anti-oppressive theory and various conceptual orientations toward ethnicity and multiculturalism to explore the discourse and practice of social workers who work with immigrant youth from Ethiopia in Israel and examine how they address discrimination and racism. The study reveals the dominant individualistic and apolitical discourse used by the social workers and the competing social conflict discourse held by a minority of them, especially those who belong to the Ethiopian community themselves. In her presentation, Vager-Atias will focus on the impact on her interviewees of talking about racism in the research interview. From the perspective of his deep involvement in the implementation of the poverty-aware paradigm in the Israeli child protection system, Yuval Saar-Heiman builds upon this paradigm to empirically examine parents’ and practitioners’ perspectives regarding poverty, child maltreatment, and child protection involvement. Based on his findings he will present an updated conceptualization of the links between the material, social, and symbolic/relational dimensions of child maltreatment and child protection involvement. Roni Eyal-Lubling, who will present the third study, uses a feminist perspective and Mario Small's concept of organizational embeddedness to examine the ways in which mothers who live in conditions of economic scarcity serve as sources of bridging social capital for their young adult daughters based on their own relationships with social support organizations. Her study sheds light on the circumstances in which social support organizations become allies of underprivileged mothers in assisting their daughters' transition to young adulthood. In the final presentation, Shachar Timor-Shlevin will characterize the policy processes that enabled the critical poverty-aware paradigm to take hold in the Israeli field through the analysis of the operation of senior managers at the headquarters of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services. Using Sanford F. Schram’s concept of radical incrementalism, Timor-Shlevin will elaborate on the impact of his research on the senior managers he interviewed.

* noted as presenting author
Sustainable Critical Social Policy? the Case of Poverty-Aware Social Work in Israel
Shachar Timor-Shlevin, PhD, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
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