This book has emphasised the importance of recognising the diversity of rural contexts and rural lives, the necessity of an informed appreciation of local context, and, following from these, a rejection of any homogenised approach to rural-social-work policy and practice. Some of the commonalities between Western developed countries are due to similarities in social-welfare systems and the fact that these countries are relatively wealthy and, thus, have considerable expenditures allocated to ‘professionalised’ systems of social work. There are other commonalities that derive from the social dynamics of small communities, in which higher social visibility and local cultures, and patterns of relationships, play a great part in how people view social difference and social problems and how these things are experienced. In some countries, similarities arise from the experience of colonisation, whose legacies have resulted in the marginalisation of indigenous populations, the health and welfare prospects of whom are, typically, considerably worse than those of the overall population.
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