Answering the Call: Generating Contemporary Knowledge About Australian Social Work Activism
The contemporary context, characterised by neoliberalism, serves as a backdrop for social work activism. Social work academics, globally and nationally, have incited an urgent call to activism. Despite this exhortation, ways of practising social work activism remain contested and somewhat mystifying. This study aimed to generate contemporary knowledge about Australian social work activism. The qualitative inquiry, guided by pragmatism, used individual semi-structured and paired depth interviews to explore the experiences of 12 self-identified social work activists. Data analysis generated four core themes: i) Activist Practices Exist on a Continuum; ii) Activism Is Contextually Bound; iii) Activism Is an Inherently Relational Endeavour; and iv) Sustaining Activism for the Long Game. Together, the findings suggest that adopting multiple, contextualised, and interconnected approaches may enable workers to pursue justice at all levels of their practice. These insights contribute to the profession’s understanding of social work activism and may benefit practitioners, students, and educators.
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