Book cover image for: Tension Between Culture and Human Rights

The Tension Between Culture and Human Rights: Emancipatory Social Work and Afrocentricity in a Global World


Edited by Vishanthie Sewpaul, Linda Kreitzer, and Tanusha Raniga

$34.99 CAD / $39.99 USD (S)

392 pages, 4 illustrators

6 x 9 inches

978-1-77385-182-2 (Paperback)

978-1-77385-184-6 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-77385-185-3 (ePub)

978-1-77385-186-0 (mobi)

Africa: Missing Voices

May 2021

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About the Book

A critical interrogation of the relationship between cultural practices and human rights in Africa rooted in Afrocentricity and emancipatory social work.

Cultural practices have the potential to cause human suffering. The Tension Between Culture and Human Rights critically interrogates the relationship between culture and human rights across Africa and offers strategies for pedagogy and practice that social workers and educators may use.

Drawing on Afrocentricity and emancipatory social work as antidotes to colonial power and dehumanization, this collection challenges cultural practices that violate human rights, and the dichotomous and taken-for-granted assumptions in the cultural representations between the West and the Rest of the world. Engaging critically with cultural traditions while affirming Indigenous knowledge and practices, it is unafraid to deal frankly with uncomfortable truths. Each chapter explores a specific aspect of African cultural norms and practices and their impacts on human rights and human dignity, paying special attention to the intersections of politics, economics, race, class, gender, and cultural expression.

Going beyond analysis, this collection offers a range of practical approaches to understanding and intervention rooted in emancipatory social work. It offers a pathway to develop critical reflexivity and to reframe epistemologies for education and practice. This is essential reading not only for students and practitioners of social work, but for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of African cultures and practices.

About the Editors

Vishanthie Sewpaul is emeritus professor at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and professor at the University of Stavanger, Norway. She has occupied leadership positions at national, regional and global levels, and received numerous awards, including a Distinguished Women in Social Sciences and Humanities award in South Africa.

Linda Kreitzer is professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. She has taught social work in Ghana and Canada and is the recipient of the University of Calgary Peak Scholar Award. She is the author of Social Work in Africa and co-author of Sherpa in My Backpack.

Tanusha Raniga is professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa where she teaches social work and community development. She is a recipient of the National Association of South African Education Institutions Young Up and Coming Award and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School of Applied Human Sciences in the College of Humanities.

With contributions by: Ziblim Abukari, Alice Boateng, Paul Bukuluki, Julia Drolet, Mel Gray, Ronald Luwangula, Abel Blessing Matsika, Manquoba Victor Mdamba, Manyaradzi Muchacha, Jacob Mugumbate, Ronald Muckeye, Juliana Naumo, Tatenda Nhapi, Aloysious Nnyombi, Poloko N. Ntshwarang, Agusta Olaore, Israel B. Olaore, Shahana Rasool, Bonitumelo Seepamore, Yania Seid Meikye Seid-Ali, Cynthia Akorfa Sottie, and Eunice Tumwebaze