Rethinking empowerment: a postmodern reappraisal for emancipatory practice

Pease, Bob 2002, Rethinking empowerment: a postmodern reappraisal for emancipatory practice, British journal of social work, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 135-147.

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Title Rethinking empowerment: a postmodern reappraisal for emancipatory practice
Author(s) Pease, BobORCID iD for Pease, Bob
Journal name British journal of social work
Volume number 32
Issue number 2
Start page 135
End page 147
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2002-03
ISSN 0045-3102
Summary This article is concerned with the implications of the postmodern challenge to critical theory for the practice of empowerment. How do we conceptualize empowerment from a postmodern perspective? It is argued that the modernist concept of power upon which empowerment rests, can have unintended disempowering effects. By conceptualizing power as a commodity, identities are forced into a powerful–powerless dualism which does not always do justice to diverse experiences. Thus we can sometimes contribute to dominance in spite of our liberatory intentions. It is argued that social workers need to become more aware of the self-disciplining and self-regulatory processes involved in professional work to address the social relations of power embedded in professional practices. Foucault's analysis of how marginalized knowledges are affected by dominant cultural practices suggests a redefining of empowerment as the insurrection of subjugated knowledge. The implications of this redefinition for practice is illustrated by reference to work with indigenous people in Australia.
Language eng
Field of Research 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002,Oxford University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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