A firm grasp of the nature of oppression, with its dynamics of power and its systemic character, is required so that social workers can avoid unintended collusion with pervasive oppressive systems if they are to be successful in promoting social and economic justice. Recognizing the relationship between macro-level and micro-level dynamics and their implications for practice is an substantive part of social work practice. This perspective includes attention to the ubiquitousness of privilege and oppression and the potential consequences of ignoring this reality as complicity in and normalizing exclusionary and marginalizing behaviors. This article discusses the concept of oppression, its dynamics and common elements, and anti-oppressive practices that can expose and dismantle oppressive relationships and systemic power arrangements.
Betty Garcia and Dorothy Van Soest
A consistent theme for the majority of men in the United States remains the code of manhood. Men are expected by society to be stoic in the face of danger and to play out, in all aspects of life, the idea of the rugged individual going it alone, even in the face of a quickly changing world. Whereas social-work theorists and practitioners talk about male aggression, sexuality, intimacy, depression, anxiety, addiction, ageing, and work-related concerns, most men are less likely to view these as problems. If they do enter into counseling or treatment, they are less likely to remain for any length of time. Faced with these issues, practitioners are challenged to find ways of engaging men and forming successful collaboration and meaningful outcomes.
Charles D. Garvin and Maeda J. Galinsky
This overview highlights the current status of group practice, examines the conceptual frameworks for working with groups, reviews the status of group work practice research, and identifies challenges for practice. The discussion examines how the numerous frameworks in social work with groups are joined by adherence to a systemic perspective, an understanding of group dynamics, common intervention concepts, and processes important to phases of intervention. While group work writings and practice have always emphasized the importance of opposing injustices, recent literature has taken a strong position on how group work theory and practice are related to the pursuit of social justice. Although recent studies on social group work are characterized by increasing attention to design, data collection, and analysis, research is still at a developing stage. The discussion of challenges points to areas that are of special importance in current and future practice, including diversity in composition, a commitment to attaining social justice, changing membership, involuntary membership, new professional roles, and use of technology.