Extralegal Practices for Social Justice
Paper 215 pp.
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Subversive Action presents cases that explore the use of extralegal action undertaken in pursuit of human rights and social justice, and locate that action with reference to the boundaries of social work. Definitions of social work often include goals of social change, social justice, empowerment, and the liberation of people, but social work texts make little mention of extralegal actions. Mainstream conceptions of social work usually consider it to fall within the framework of particular legal and societal contexts. As such, it is presented with boundaries for legitimate action even as it espouses principles that may require it to challenge these boundaries. How does one do social work in legal and societal contexts that challenge these principles with institutional and state-mandated exclusion and discrimination? Should social workers simply act within the bounds of the law in line with their professional sanction and mandate? Do their actions qualify as social work if they are beyond the limits of the law? The essays in this volume, by authors from around the world, raise these questions by providing a basis for reflection about the claims we make in social work embodied in discourses on social justice and human rights.
Nilan Yu is a lecturer in social work at the University of South Australia. His research interests include critical practice, work in organizations, disability, labour migration, and human rights. One of his most recent works is a critical interrogation of Australian immigration policy.
Deena Mandell teaches MSW and Ph.D. students as well as new field instructors in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. She also works to support the success and inclusion of students previously educated outside of North America. Her second book, Revisiting the Use of Self: Questioning Professional Identities, focuses on reflexivity as a key to just practices.