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Identity, power, and social work practice in India

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power, critical social work, identity, self-reflection, India

Abstract (summary)

A person's identity puts them in different social categories, positions, and statuses. An individual's social position has corresponding power or powerlessness, which influences their interaction with others in the community. The individual identities, social positions, and authority of social workers place them in a higher level of power in relation to the people they serve. This imbalance of power between social workers and clients affects the helping process. This article discusses how personal identity and power influence social work practice in the Indian context. Social structures like caste-based discrimination and patriarchal norms contribute to inequitable social positioning in the country. Following a critical social work approach, the paper presents the different dimensions of power in the social work relationship and proposes means for sharing power with the clients.

Publication Information

Vareed B. (2023). Identity, power, and social work practice in India. Critical Social Work, 24(2), 56-68.


Item Type

Article Post-Print



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)