Power and Dominace

Topics: Sociology, Gender, Social work Pages: 5 (1847 words) Published: March 27, 2013
This essay will talk on the definition of privilege and dominance, the application and importance of anti-oppressive practice and the theoretical frame work of Thompson’s Personal, Cultural and Structural (PCS) models of oppression, Burnham’s social ‘GRRAACCEESS’ and Fook’s Micro and Macro approaches. It will also cover my reflection on the article ‘To Address Privilege and Dominance’ and how it influences my social work practice and a reflection on challenges that might arise in my practice.

Bailey (1998:109) defines privilege as ‘systematically conferred advantages individuals enjoys by virtue of their membership in dominant groups with access to resources and institutional power that are beyond the common advantages of marginalised citizens’.

Tillner (1997:2) defines dominance as ‘a form of identity practice that constructs a difference which legitimises dominance and grants the agent of dominance the illusion of a superior identity’. Anti-oppressive practice is the cornerstone of ethical social work practice. It is very important and central to learning in social work practice how to challenge the focused abuse of power and mistreatment of others using specific legislation where applicable and to consider the particular disadvantages resulting from a precise social difference. Dominelli (2002:36) denotes that ‘anti-oppressive practice addresses the whole person and enables the practitioner to relate to his or her client’s social context in a way that takes account of the ‘allocative and authoritative’ that both the practitioner and the client bring to the relationship. Thus, anti oppressive practice takes on board personal, institutional, cultural and economic issues and examines how this impinges on individuals’ behaviour and opportunities to develop their full potentials as persons living within collective entities’. Parker (2007) states that anti-discriminatory approaches highlight disadvantage by association experienced by people with whom social workers practise as the discrimination is directly related to the particular characteristics identified within the legislation. Parker (2007) further explains that anti-oppressive pursue to change systems that upholds the status quo at the expense of carers, service users disadvantaged or marginalised people due to their social division and statuses. Thompson (2006) identifies three levels that can make us better understand the ways oppression or discrimination works in society. These are Personal, Cultural and Structural (PCS) models of oppression. The personal or psychological level is concerned with an individual’s thoughts, feelings, views, attitudes and actions towards a particular group, person, race, gender, sexuality, religion or community. The cultural level centres on ‘shared ways of seeing, thinking and doing’ (Thompson, 2009). That is: cultural levels of interaction within society and shared ways of seeing, thinking and doing, the same values and patterns of thought and behaviour, conformity to social norms and humour as a vehicle for transmitting and reinforcing culture. Culture is also very influential in determining what is regarded as ‘normal’ in any given circumstance. The structural level refers to the network of social divisions and power relations that are so closely associated with them. It also relates to the way in which oppression and discrimination are ‘sewn in’ to the fabric of society or institutionalise. It also relates to the level of social forces; ‘interlocking patterns of power and influence’. Hugman (2009:1142) notes that ‘Fooks approach shows how working at the micro level can be informed by structural understandings of the causes of social needs’. Micro pertains to individual, domestic unit and small groups whilst macro relates to community, organisation and policies. It is important to work with macro minded in micro practice as most difficulties faced by service users can easily be identified at that level. Burnham (2005) claims...
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