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.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||British Journal of Social Work|
|Early online date||19 Feb 2022|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2022|
- local knowledge
- social work education