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Friday, December 6 • 9:00am - 11:00am

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Chair: Liz Beddoe

Donna Baines: White Fragility, Populism and Late Neoliberalism

Xenophobia, anti-immigrant backlash and racism are an increasingly present aspect of society. Underlying this backlash is a set of practices known as white fragility (DiAngelo 2011). White fragility is the inability for those from dominant groups to accept even minor critique from subordinated groups, to ally themselves with social justice or to embrace the leadership of those who are marginalised in making meaningful social change. Though social work is well-positioned to resist xenophobic discourses, more than thirty years of neoliberalism means that many social service agencies have been restructured to reflect private market ideology, and there are few spaces left in which to debate social justice issues openly within the workplace or to collectively develop strategies to address emerging needs and rising social tensions. This paper will theorize white fragility and place it within the context of late neoliberalism. It will draw on two vignettes to explore how white fragility operates within everyday social work practice and how it is resisted by those seeking social justice and equity.

Bindi Bennett: Acknowledgements in Aboriginal social work research: how to counteract neo-colonial academic complacency

Much current research continues to present Aboriginal voices, knowledges and cultures in an historical white colonial context associated with power, privilege and entitlement. This approach, conscious or unconscious, perpetuates racism, dispossession and epistemicide. Colonial conventions in research, such as who is designated as a lead author and giving individuals the choice as to who, when, where and if they acknowledge their sources creates subtle yet offensive ways to abuse, de-voice and re-colonise Aboriginal peoples. Tokenistic collaboration, consultation and allyship practices put Aboriginal intellectual sovereignty at risk. It is long overdue for Aboriginal people to become active and fully recognised agents in research and for Aboriginal cultural ideas, values and principles to be placed as the forefront; only then can we decolonise social work and create culturally responsive research. Social workers and academics must form allegiance with Aboriginal people and recognise their need to maintain independence and to determine their own approaches and practices in research.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Liz Beddoe

Liz Beddoe

Professor, University of Auckland

Friday December 6, 2019 9:00am - 11:00am NZDT
206-203 - Lecture Theatre 2