Indigenization of social work education and practice: a participatory action research project in Ghana
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AbstractThe hegemony of western knowledge has influenced and continues to influence knowledge production throughout the world. Factors including colonialism, development under modernization and current neo-liberal globalization policies have helped to define knowledge production that promotes western thinking. Indigenous knowledge, for the most part, continues to be deemed primitive and unimportant. This hegemony is seen in the historical domination of Western social work knowledge worldwide and can be traced back to the colonial era. During the middle 20th century, social work education expanded to other nonwestern countries in an imperialistic fashion with the assumption that western social work knowledge, mainly North American and British, was universal and transferable. West Africa was influenced by this exportation of western social work knowledge, in particular, in Ghana. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Association of Social Work Education in Africa and the Ghana Association of Social Workers were active in promoting social work education and practice in that area. Over time, these organizations have lost their momentum and are perceived to have become ineffective. Western social work knowledge has continued its domination of social work education there. This study attempts to address the hegemony of western social work knowledge through a critical and emancipatory approach to knowledge production. Guided by Critical Theory and Participatory Action Research, it explores the processes of westernization and indigenization that have affected. Ghanaian society. Through a dialogical process, faculty, students, social workers and a community leader came together to create new knowledge concerning Ghanaian social work. Through this critical process, the group emerged with action plans that changed their situations personally and professionally. This new knowledge reflects a need for a greater profile of social work in Ghana, an organizational change in regards to the Ghana Association of Social Workers and a greater emphasis on the publication and use of indigenous writing in social work education. It is hoped that the new knowledge produced from this research will continue to evolve and will motivate and challenge social workers in Ghana to develop an innovative social work education and practice that will be relevant to the needs of Ghanaian society.
Bibliography: p. 258-272