For the purpose of this essay, during the first part we will explore the meaning of discrimination and oppression within society.
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00027057 INTRODUCTION For the purpose of this essay, during the first part we will explore the meaning of discrimination and oppression within society. The importance of anti-discriminatory practice will be discussed followed by an introduction and explanation of the PCS model of analyses devised by Thompson (1993); this is used to highlight discrimination and oppression on three different levels. A specified group of service users will be focussed upon and by using the Thompson PCS model of analyses the different levels of discrimination and oppression they may experience within society will be explored. Finally possible ways of working in partnership and empowering these service users will be discussed. Due to the limited time and word count of this essay it is only possible to begin to touch on this subject, but the foundations for understanding oppression and discrimination with methods of a way forward to an anti-discriminatory practice will be present. 00027057 We live in a supposedly equal society, however it is apparent that our society is only equal in theory, in reality divisions are created by the social status of individuals based on factors such as age, health, income, ethnicity, sexuality and gender. In any society there are differences between people and people are categorised within society by their differences, the three major ways society is divided are class, gender and race. There are however further sub divisions on the basis of other factors such as disability, age and sexual orientation. (Walsh et al, 2000) It is of particular significance society attributes to these differences by defining people and their roles on the basis of differences that individual groups experience oppression and marginalisation, as the power, status and opportunities people have in society are affected by how society defines them.
The Community Care legislation on the structural level covers disability and infirmity in old age it does not consider varying needs and circumstances, such as abuse of older people. There are no statutory requirements in place as for children. (Thompson, 1993) "Images of peoples worth are acted out in service provision. Work with older people is seen as straightforward. It can wait. Childcare is seen as complex and immediate. However both require the same social work skills, present the familiar social work dilemma and require handling of separations, placements and culture." (Preston-Shoot and Agass, 1990, cited in Thompson, 1993, p90) On all three levels ageing is seen as negative, it is an accepted belief that when you reach a certain age you are regarded as past it, this belief is thus institutionalised. An example of this is through the use of comic humour and language, around a birthday celebration, people will joke with each other and call each other names like 'you old fogie', thus implying being old is a problem. Of course no offence is meant to anybody 'its only a joke'. At a cultural level jokes about old age and the use of 00027057 negative language all serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about older people, which are in turn reflected in personal perceptions about old age. (Thompson, 1993) There are many ageist assumptions made about older people, they are often seen as childlike. On a personal and structural level decisions are made for them without consultation, their rights are ignored. For example it may be the view of family members for what ever reason and that of professionals that the individual older person who is struggling to care for them self would be better off in a care home.
Which has a negative impact on the level of resources available to many workers within statutory agencies, which is at odds with responding to need in the sensitive and flexible way an empowering practice requires. To pursue the interests of clients and carers within severe resource constraints demands a personal commitment to the values of anti-oppressive practice and the desire to advocate on behalf of those in need. (Hugman & Smith, 1995) Existing social workers may or may not use the PCS model of analyses, but do have a personal responsibility to themselves, other professionals and service users to work in an anti-discriminatory way. The PCS model of analyses is very useful as it provides the individual practitioner with the appropriate tools to identify discrimination and oppression on the different levels within society. This will increase their awareness and enable them to be in a position to enlighten individuals of their oppression; this being done on the personal level which will impact on the structural level. "If the principles of anti-oppressive practice are to move the practitioners thinking beyond agency policy and practices and to make a difference, then they need to invest time and energy in the application of those principles, enabling them to systematically 00027057 analyse situations and think through the action that needs to be taken. Anti-oppressive practice then moves beyond description of the nature of oppression to dynamic and creative ways of working." (Burke, 1998, p238) Social work practice should mean anti-discriminatory practice, which should directly challenge negative stereotypes and assumptions. Social work should help the service users to understand some of the causative factors involved. Giving service users the knowledge and enabling skills to deal with their oppression it can help to dilute the power imbalance of worker client man and woman. 11 10
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