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Race, Racism and Social WorkContemporary issues and debates$
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Michael Lavalette and Laura Penketh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447307082

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447307082.001.0001

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In defence of multiculturalism?

In defence of multiculturalism?

(p.131) Seven In defence of multiculturalism?
Race, Racism and Social Work

Gareth Jenkins

Policy Press

Social workers are required to be aware of changing social contexts and their impact on service user communities. Many social workers writing about anti-racist practice in the 1980s would have followed Sivanandan’s (1982) critique of local authority ‘multiculturalism’. Sivanandan’s case was that too often policies of multiculturalism were reduced to a celebration of ‘steel-bands, samosas and saris’, whilst institutional and structural racism was ignored. But from a perspective contemporary, the attack on multiculturalism has shifted the political terrain. Multiculturalism is being used as a code word by politicians to attack migration and the pressence of minority communities in Britain itself – themes that are addressed in this chapter in a nuanced ‘defence’ of multiculturalism in the face of the present political assault.

Keywords:   Racism, Multiculturalism, Far-right politics, Institutional racism

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