Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Encyclopedia of Social Work. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 March 2023



  • Betty Garcia, Betty GarciaCalifornia State University, Fresno, Emerita
  • Dorothy Van SoestDorothy Van SoestUniversity of Washington
  •  and Dheeshana JayasundaraDheeshana JayasundaraCalifornia State University, Fresno


A firm grasp of the nature of oppression, with its dynamics of power and systemic character, is required so that social workers can avoid unintended collusion with pervasive oppressive systems in order to be successful in promoting social and economic justice. Recognizing that macrolevel forces have microlevel implications and addressing those in the social work relationship comprise an essential part of social work practice. A key aspect of this learning is recognition of the institutionalization of privilege and oppression, which results in exclusionary and marginalizing interactions and practices being viewed as normative. Oppression is a model that provides a unique lens that links what could be taken as solely personal as, instead, “shared problems requiring social solutions.” The following discusses the concept of oppression, its dynamics and common elements, and anti-oppression practice that can expose and dismantle oppressive relationships and systemic power arrangements.


  • Social Justice and Human Rights

Updated in this version

Content and references updated for the Encyclopedia of Macro Social Work.

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription