Book cover image for: Social Work in Africa: Exploring Culturally Relevant Education and Practice in Ghana

Social Work in Africa: Exploring Culturally Relevant Education and Practice in Ghana

Linda Kreitzer

$34.95 CAD / $41.95 USD

215 pages, 10 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-510-4 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-511-1 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-55238-598-2 (ePub)

978-1-55238-723-8 (mobi)

April 2012

Buy Now

About the Book

Social Work in Africa offers professors, students, and practitioners insight concerning social work in the African context. Its purpose is to encourage examination of the social work curriculum and to demonstrate practical ways to make it more culturally relevant.

Drawing on her experience as a social work instructor in Ghana with field research conducted for her doctoral thesis, author Linda Kreitzer addresses the history of social work in African countries, the hegemony of western knowledge in the field, and the need for culturally and regionally informed teaching resources and programs. Guided by a strong sense of her limitations and responsibilities as a privileged outsider and a belief that “only Ghanaians can critically look at and decide on a culturally relevant curriculum for themselves,”

Kreitzer utilizes Participatory Action Research methodology to successfully move the topic of culturally relevant practices from rhetoric to demonstration. Social Work in Africa is aimed at programs and practise in Ghana; at the same time, it is intended as a framework for the creation of culturally relevant social work curricula in other African countries and other contexts.

About the Author

Linda Kreitzer is an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work, Central and Northern Alberta Region, for the University of Calgary. She has an extensive background in researching and teaching social work in Britain, Ghana, Armenia, and Canada, and in a Liberian refugee camp. Her experience with Ghana began while teaching social work at the University of Ghana through the British NGO Voluntary Services Overseas in 1994. Her resulting questions about the relevancy of utilizing a western-style social work curriculum in an African country led to research for her doctoral thesis and subsequently to this book.

Praise for Social Work in Africa 

The book contains a balance of theory, information and practical examples, with a strong call to action and change… The chapters are full of useful questions posed to support this process, encouraging social work educators to question what is taught and whose interests are served. While the focus of this book is very much on social work within Africa, it draws attention to the way ‘Western’ dominated social work is transferred to different cultural contexts and the on-going implications of colonisation and post-colonisation.

—Aisha J. Hutchinson, Social Work Education

A well-researched background for addressing how the colonial and postcolonial context augmented Western hegemony and knowledge in the social work curriculum in Ghana.

—Fibian Lukalo, Africa

The book provides interesting and insightful knowledge about the development of social work education in Africa, which Kreitzer traces to 1945.

—Ann Anka, Ethics and Social Welfare 

Table of Contents

Introduction: Situating the Context

Historical Context

Historical Influences Affecting Social Work Education in Africa
Institutions Affecting Social Work Education in Africa
History of Social Work in Ghana

Cultural Identity

African Culture and Identity How Africa’s History has Influenced African Cultural Identity
African Cultural Identity Today
African Cultural Identity and Social Work

Hegemony of Western Knowledge

Imperialism and Education
Hegemony of Knowledge
Western Knowledge and Social Work Education

Neo-Liberal Policies

The Rise of International Financial Institutions
Present Economic Issues in Africa
Consequences of Neo-Liberal Policies
Social Work and Neo-Liberal Policies

Development and Aid

History of Development Theories
Social Work and Development

Creating Culturally Relevant Education and Practice

Recognizing the Need for Change
Using the Ghanaian Context for a Case Study on Curriculum Change
The Process of Identifying Culturally Relevant Curricula
Ghanaian Research Findings

The Future of Social Work in Africa

Appendix 1: Role-Playing Exercise Examining Pre-Colonial, Colonial, and Post-Colonial Africa
Appendix 2: Cultural Awareness / Neo-Liberal Agenda