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Risks and benefits of convergences in social work education: a post-colonial analysis of Malaysia and the UK.

Parker, J., 2020. Risks and benefits of convergences in social work education: a post-colonial analysis of Malaysia and the UK. In: Sajid, S.M., Baikady, R., Sheng-Li, C. and Sakaguchi, H., eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Work Education. Palgrave Macmillan, 641-656.

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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-39966-5


This chapter will present the organisational sociology model of isomorphic convergences and suggest it is a useful mode of analysis for understanding developments in contemporary social work education including the work of the International Association of Schools of Social Work in promoting shared understandings and global standards. Some of the benefits and some of the risks that standardization and convergence offers social work education will be considered whilst a critique of the model and ways in which it can be challenged and moulded towards positive change will also be presented. Subsequently, social work education in the UK and Malaysia will be introduced. The UK has a long history of social work education and, in colonial days, initiated social work/welfare in Malaya (the former colonial name for Malaysia). An historical overview will be given for both countries. The legacy of British colonialism remains post-independence, although this is now tempered by US and Asia Pacific influences and, importantly, a growing recognition of the centrality of indigeneity. In the UK, devolution of the four administrations, New Public Management and latterly the spectre of ‘Brexit’ (leaving the European Union) has influenced developments and there is a growing insularity of approach. The development of social work education in both countries will be explored using the model of isomorphic convergence and considering this in terms of ‘professional imperialism’. Contemporary developments will be investigated through a post-colonial lens and the model critiqued and refined. The chapter will conclude by exploring potential futures for social work education drawing on the complex and somewhat contested definitions and practices of social work. The importance of (re)developing and (re)imagining social work education futures and recognizing shared relationships will be emphasized as part of this analysis.

Item Type:Book Section
ISBN:978-3-030-39965-8, 978-3-030-39966-5
Number of Pages:1052
Uncontrolled Keywords:risk ; isomorphic convergence ; UK ; Malaysia ; post-colonial theory
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:33492
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:24 Feb 2020 14:08
Last Modified:24 Oct 2022 01:08


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