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Price: $79.95

Paperback 432 pp.
12 tables; 7 figures; 2 photos, 7" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege

A Critical Approach to Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Privilege Theory and Practice, Third Edition

Bob Mullaly and Juliana West

Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege is the definitive guide to anti-oppressive and anti-privilege social work. This fully updated and revised third edition examines the many forms that oppression and privilege can take, at the personal, cultural, and structural levels. The text outlines the necessary practices and approaches that social work must adopt in order to fight against oppression and privilege, and to assist those who have been oppressed.

Readership : Students at universities and colleges taking mid- to upper-level social work courses focused on social work theory and practice; critical approaches to social work practice; diversity and oppression; anti-oppressive practice; and power, privilege and oppression.


  • "This text is critical to social work practice in Canada. . . . It provides a thorough theoretical foundation to understand oppression. The chapter on privilege is essential for social work students."
    --Brigette Krieg, University of Regina

  • "I think this book is excellent. I really like Mullaly's directness re: the importance of theory and [...] criticisms of mainstream practice, the tables and [figures] are well-done, his outlining oppression at personal, cultural, and structural levels is useful, . . . and I like his exploration of privilege and how we harm others without conscious intent . . . I love Mullaly's work."
    --Susan Hillock, Trent University

Note: each chapter includes:
- Introduction
- Conclusion
- Critical questions for discussion
- Further readings
1. Oppression: An Overview
Diversity, Difference, and Oppression
Social Work Approaches to Difference
The Nature of Oppression
Case Example 1.1 What Is Oppression?
Oppression as a Social Justice Issue
The Genealogy of Modern-Day Oppression and the Politics of Identity
The Dynamics of Oppression
Case Example 1.2 "I Have Never Been Oppressed"
Forms of Oppression
Case Example 1.3 Allies or Enemies?
Personal, Cultural, and Structural Levels of Oppression
2. Privilege: An Overview
The Nature of Privilege
Dynamics of Privilege
Personal, Cultural, and Structural Levels of Privilege
Why Dominant Groups Do Not See Privilege as a Problem
A Taxonomy of Everyday Examples of Unearned Privilege
Social Work and Privilege
Pedagogy of Privilege
3. Theoretical and Conceptual Considerations
Case Example 3.1 Personally Constructed Theory
Social Problems: The Great Paradox of the Helping Profession
Personal Experience 3.1 Parking Lots and Social Problems
Order and Conflict/Change Perspectives
Critical Social Theory
Critical Social Work Theory
Modernism and Postmodernism
Personal Experience 3.2 Not All Theories Are Created Equal - In Spite of What the Instructor Implies
Major Concepts Associated with Oppression/Anti-Oppression Framework
4. Oppression and Privilege at the Personal Level
Case Example 4.1 Patricia and Margaret and Their Car Troubles
Normalizing Gaze and Objectified Bodies
Acts of Oppression at the Personal Level
Case Example 4.2 The Iron Lady
Case Example 4.3 A Racialized Space
Case Example 4.4 Ungrateful or Unjust?
Case Example 4.5 Micro-Aggressions and Privileged Identities
Effects of Oppression on the Individual
Case Example 4.6 Mohammed and Jeff and Social Scripts
Personal Experience 4.1 My Shifting Identity
Surviving Oppression: Responses of Oppressed People at the Personal Level
Acts of Privilege at the Personal Level
Case Example 4.1 continued: Margaret's Privilege
5. Oppression and Privilege at the Cultural Level
Culture (The "Poor Cousin" in Social Work)
The Dominant Culture
Personal Experience 5.1 Media Bias against Social Protest
Popular/Mass Culture
Critical Social Theories of Culture
Case Example 5.1 Simulated Family Life Today
Stereotypes as Cultural Expressions of Oppression
Case Example 5.2 An Inadequate Mother or Oppressive Expectations?
Personal Experience 5.2 An Unconscious Act of Oppression
Language and Discourse as Mechanisms of Oppression (and Anti-Oppression)
Social Work and Cultural Oppression
Case Example 5.3 Social Work Reproduces Gender and Racial Oppression
Privilege at the Cultural Level
Whiteness and Privilege
Privilege as a Category of Analysis, Model of Lived Experience, and Cultural Narrative
Social Work and Privilege at the Cultural Level
6. Oppression and Privilege at the Structural Level
Social Relations and Oppression
Personal Experience 6.1 Attending Multicultural Celebrations
The Politics of Difference
Economic Relations and Oppression
Political Relations and Oppression
Case Example 6.1 Two Societies
Effects of Structural Oppression
Social Determinants of Health
Privilege at the Structural Level
7. Internalized Oppression and Domination
Psychology of Oppression
Inferiority and Internalized Oppression
The Master-Slave Paradigm
Case Example 7.1 More than 35 Million Slaves
False Consciousness
Personal Experience 7.1 "Life Would Be a Whole Lot Simpler"
Other Perspectives on Internalized Oppression
Case Example 7.2 "I Made It without Help. Why Can't They?"
Psychology of Liberation
Internalized Domination and Privilege
Personal Experience 7.2 From Social Leprosy to Social Respectability
Case Example 7.3 "Black Is Beautiful"
8. The "Web": The Multiplicity, Intersectionality, and Heterogeneity of Oppression and Privilege
Multiple Identities and the Persistence of Domination and Oppression
Case Example 8.1 Initial Impressions of an Intake Worker
Models of Multiple Oppressions
Intersectional Analysis
Case Example 8.2 "What Is It about Me?"
Heterogeneity within Oppressed Groups
Case Example 8.3 A Despicable Political Response
9. Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Privilege Social Work Practice at the Personal and Cultural Levels
Anti-Oppressive Practice at the Personal Level
Case Example 9.1 Gay Pride
Personal Experience 9.1 "Don't Take It Personally"
Personal Experience 9.2 "Okay, Take It Personally If You Want, but I'm Moving On!"
Anti-Oppressive Practice at the Cultural Level
Case Example 9.2 Ethics and Culture (Not All Cultural Practices Are Inherently Good)
Personal Experience 9.3 A Creative Method of Resistance
Case Example 9.3 Freeloaders
Case Example 9.4 Gandhi and a Very Good Idea
Challenging the Organization
Anti-Privilege Practice at the Personal and Cultural Levels: What Can We Do?
Case Example 9.5 Sam and His Intersectional Identities
Personal Experience 9.4 Using My Privilege to Advance the Cause
10. Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Privilege Social Work at the Structural Level with Principles for All Levels
Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Privilege Practice at the Structural Level
Personal Experience 10.1 Working within an Effective Alternative Organization
Personal Experience 10.2 Whose Ethics?
Selected Principles of Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Privilege Social Work Practice
Case Example 10.1 Critical Self-Reflection Needed Here!
The Constructive Use of Anger

E-book ISBN 9780199022335

Bob Mullaly is senior scholar and former dean in the Faculty of Social Work at University of Manitoba.

Juliana West is assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at Thompson Rivers University.

The New Structural Social Work: Ideology, Theory, and Practice - Bob Mullaly and Marilyn Dupré
Anti-Oppressive Social Work - Gary C. Dumbrill and June Ying Yee
Advocacy in Practice - Shelley Rempel
Social Policy in Canada - Ernie Lightman and Naomi Lightman
Connecting Policy to Practice in the Human Services - Brad McKenzie and The late Brian Wharf
Modern Social Work Theory - Malcolm Payne

Special Features

  • Comprehensive - complex issues in critical or anti-oppressive social work are thoroughly explained for an undergraduate audience.
  • Coverage of theory and practice in social work situations ensures students can connect theoretical concepts to real life.
  • Discussion questions draw attention to key concepts and encourage students to think critically and look at issues from different points of view.
  • Case Example and Personal Experience boxes contain important vignettes presenting practical implications of anti-oppression and anti-privilege.
New to this Edition
  • Thoroughly updated and revised, this edition reflects the most current research and thinking about anti-oppressive and anti-privilege practice for today's social work students in a newly organized TOC.
  • Increased coverage of Indigenous experience of oppression including oppression of Indigenous women, the rise of the Idle No More movement, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Enhanced coverage of privilege including an expanded chapter on confronting privilege (Ch. 2) and new discussions of privilege woven throughout the text.
  • Expanded coverage of feminist, queer, and critical race theory reflects the theoretical approaches that have grown in importance in recent years
  • Updated box feature program - featuring Case Example and Personal Experience boxes - contain important vignettes presenting the practical implications of anti-oppression and anti-privilege approaches.