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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 Poverty, Oppression & Classism.docx

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Social Work
Sandra Preston

1 Social Work 1A06: Introduction to Social Work Oct 1 2012 Lecture 4: What is Poverty? How does it Happen?: Oppression, Classism and Poverty (Inadequate Income) Notes: - Next set of tutorials o Info on Ave o Create a budget with the form and the amounts avail o Look for an apartment that you could afford with the amounts given Bit more of Last Week’s lect: Social Work and Politics - Pamela Long: Trying to stay objective (doing nothing) is a political action in of itself as you are supporting the status quo o Any action is a political action o Cannot be apolitical  By being apolitical you are supporting the status quo – thereby being political  Logical fallacy o Canadian Social Work Code of Ethics requires us to act politically - Blaming the Victim o Blaming individs for their problems is a common approach in our soc  Do this for 2 reasons  We feel like we don’t need to help them, it’s their choice, their fault o Feel comfy cutting services or not providing them in the first place  To protect ourselves o Can assure ourselves that we will never need such services because we do not have the same personal failings  Us and them Oppression - Social control vs. Social Justice o Social control  Blaming the individ for their issues and “fixing” them  Trying to get people to fit into our soc, even if it doesn’t work for them or is bad for them  E.g. child with ADHD in the school system o Make them fit the school system, don’t make the school system fit them 2  Bread and Circus – Roman Empire  Provided entertainment for the public at the coliseum & Gave out an allotment of bread to citizens o Why?  If you have enough food, and are entertained, then you have no reason to protest/get angry with the state  What is the equivalent of Bread and Circuses now? o Circus: TV (ex)  Don’t often make you think about the social struct you live in  Is mostly purely entertainment o Bread: Social Assistance  Kept as low as possible before people will revolt o Social justice  Looking at the context of the individ, working with them to challenge the problems their context is creating for them  E.g. child with ADHD in the school system o Making the school system fit them - Individuals and Context o Depressed poor single moms  Can be seen as  Women who req medication because they are either not adapting to or capable of meeting the demands placed upon them and/or they have dysfunctional brain chemistry  OR  Women having an expected and reasonable response to an impossible situation where they are given inadequate support socially and financially o Would not find themselves in an impossible situation if given adequate support - Deficit vs. strength models o Often the things we see as deficit can be reframed as strength  Case: a homeless man with untreated schizophrenia who comes in to your shelter for food, showers and to do laundry. He prefers to sleep outside in the summer months  Deficit o He has an untreated mental illness, so he is probs resistant to treatment o He cannot maintain housing or a job o He is anti-social and probs a drinker  Strength 3 o He is a survivor who manages to stay alive in a harsh enviro o He knows and is willing to use social services on his terms o His is also willing to maintain his cleanliness although this must be very difficult  Easier to stay away from your showers which could be filled with dangerous folks  All about how your lens focuses – strength or deficits  Social worker should focus on strength of clients o Only in special circumstances (child welfare) is it the place of the social worker to tell people what to do  Even then you should focus on strength Classism and Poverty - Social Structures that surround issues of lack of resources o Class  Def of Rita Mae Brown  How you act, how you look at the world, what you expect from yourself and others, how you think, feel and act  Depending on your class, you may deal with probs diff  E.g. disagreements o Working class – yelling, screaming, get over it o Middle class – passive aggressive, comments, get over it  E.g. stepping on my foot o Middle class  If you step on her toe – “please remove your foot” o Working class  If you step on her toe – “get the fuck off my foot”  Much more straightforward here  Issue here is if working with CAS, if a fam doesn’t like a decision you’ve made and they tell you loudly in a very straightforward way, our middle class ideologies aren’t down with that o The fam will be identified by the middle class worker as “difficult, aggressive”  Assumption that everyone is middle class, people who are seen as sitting outside of that are marginalized  E.g. university o Middle class institution  People identified as not middle class have difficulty fitting in bc they don’t know the rules, don’t know how to use the system  Why is class important? 4  It determines our access to resources and opportunities o E.g. People can identify your class (sometimes) by the way you speak (i.e. English cockney accents) and they will make deicisions on your intelligence by your speech and will give you resources according to that decision  How do we measure/identify class?  Education o Formal only o No consideration for life-education, for on the job training  Income o Taxable income  Occupation o Blue collar, white collar, no collar  Ownership of the means of production o Do you have control over your work? o Do you own the machine or do you operate the machine?  Measurements blur over time  Class and Education and Income  Education and income are related o Much more likely to make a good income with a uni
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