Rethinking anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive theories for social work practice.

Christine Cocker, Trish Hafford-Letchfield

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The concepts of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice have long been embedded in social work, but whereas once these may have offered an alternative critique of individual and societal relations, they have long since become part of mainstream thinking and have lost their political edge. This book kick-starts an overdue debate by rethinking how social work understands the complexity of human interactions and experiences. In so doing, it provides an opportunity for readers to engage with fundamental concepts such as diversity, equality and social justice. It uses the ideas of Foucault in which to examine a range of concepts associated with these. The book begins by evaluating the contribution which anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive theories have made before going on to examine how social work can build on its historical commitment to working with marginalised groups and move forward in its thinking. Chapters cover a wide range of practice contexts, including disability, families, and asylum seekers, and are supplemented by an engaging ‘key ideas for practice’ feature to highlight the connections between theory and practice.
This book provides fresh new perspectives for students, drawn from critical social theory and on the work of practitioners and researchers who want to proactively engage with issues of justice and equality in social work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9781137023988
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • social work
  • theories
  • anti-discrimination
  • anti-oppression
  • Foucault
  • ethics
  • values


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