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Social work in extremisLessons for social work internationally$
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Michael Lavalette and Vasilios Ioakimidis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427182

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427182.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

In search of emancipatory social work practice in contemporary Colombia: working with the despalzados in Bogota

In search of emancipatory social work practice in contemporary Colombia: working with the despalzados in Bogota

Chapter:
(p.81) five In search of emancipatory social work practice in contemporary Colombia: working with the despalzados in Bogota
Source:
Social work in extremis
Author(s):

Carmen Hinestroza

Vasilios Ioakimidis

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847427182.003.0006

In recent years, millions of Afro-Colombians, indigenous people and peasants in Colombia have been forced off their land and moved into urban areas where they face further oppression, violence and lack of opportunities. The issue of displacement cannot be seen in isolation from broader political and social struggles in Colombia nor from the ongoing civil war that has raged for almost fifty years. This chapter explores the issue of internal displacement in Colombia through a ‘social work lens’. It argues that social work practice cannot rely on individualistic North American and Eurocentric approaches to working with oppressed groups. Building grassroots alliances and encouraging ‘conscientisation’ have been some of the main approaches of Latin American welfare work for decades, and this chapter discusses their use in the case of the despalzados (the displaced) in Colombia. The chapter suggests that Western social work could benefit from exploring the popular and emancipatory approaches that have developed in Latin America and integrating these into social work practice in the West.

Keywords:   Colombia, internal displacement, despalzados, peasants, indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, social work, grassroots alliances, conscientisation, Latin America

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