Making the ‘Local’ Visible in Social Work Education: Insights from Nigeria and Scotland on (Re)Balancing and Contextualising International and Indigenous Knowledge

Susan Levy (Lead / Corresponding author), Uzoma Odera Okoye, Richard Ingram

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    88 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Social work in the twentieth-first century is maturing as a global profession. This comparative study offers an original contribution to the evolving discussion in the field of international social work. The paper makes visible the socio-spatial dimensions and contested interpretations of international and indigenous knowledge through the experiences of social work students in the Global South and Global North. Drawing on findings from an online survey completed by undergraduate and postgraduate Nigerian and Scottish social work students (n=142), the paper provides insights into the students’ experiences, expectations, and perceived challenges. The Nigerian students critiqued the international (Western) knowledge informing their learning and practice, questioned the absence of indigenous knowledge, and were aware of the importance, and challenges, of working with cultural diversity. The Scottish students showed little criticality of the Western (local) knowledge underpinning their learning and practice, did not prioritise learning about international social work; and highlighted tensions between working with a culture of neoliberalism and social work values and social justice. We call for raising awareness of the epistemological foundations of what is included/excluded in curriculum and why, making the ‘local’ visible through re-balancing and contextualising the use of international and indigenous knowledge within social work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4299-4317
    Number of pages19
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
    Volume52
    Issue number7
    Early online date19 Feb 2022
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Keywords

    • indigenous
    • international
    • local knowledge
    • Nigeria
    • Scotland
    • social work education

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