Xenoracism: towards a critical understanding of the construction of asylum seekers and its implication for social work practice

Shepard Masocha, Murray K. Simpson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper introduces the concept of xenoracism to social work in order to increase practitioners' awareness of the ever-shifting parameters of exclusionary discourses and to provide social work with a more in-depth understanding of current social policy for asylum seekers. It argues that social work continues to rely on outdated views and old-fashioned definitions of racism yet exclusionary discourses have since moved on. The paper posits that if concerns about social work's complicity in oppressive and racist practices are to be fully addressed, a more critical perspective that is underpinned by an understanding of how asylum seekers as a social group are constructed is needed. This paper uses discourse analysis to deconstruct the ways asylum seekers are constructed in governmental and parliamentary discourses. The aim is to illuminate how the construction of asylum seekers is underpinned by xenoracism and how social workers are not immune to these discourses. Given the (xeno)racist manner in which asylum seekers are constructed, the paper illuminates and underscores the inherent ethical dilemmas for social work. It concludes by discussing the implications of these issues for social work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-18
    Number of pages14
    JournalPractice: Social Work in Action
    Volume23
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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    asylum seeker
    social work
    discourse
    discourse analysis
    racism
    social worker

    Keywords

    • Asylum seekers
    • Racism
    • Ethical issues

    Cite this

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