Language politics, linguistic capital and bilingual practitioners in social work

Harrison, Gai (2009) Language politics, linguistic capital and bilingual practitioners in social work. British Journal of Social Work, 39 6: 1082-1100. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcm153

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Author Harrison, Gai
Title Language politics, linguistic capital and bilingual practitioners in social work
Journal name British Journal of Social Work   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0045-3102
Publication date 2009
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/bjsw/bcm153
Volume 39
Issue 6
Start page 1082
End page 1100
Total pages 19
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
940199 Community Service (excl. Work) not elsewhere classified
160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified
Abstract Social workers have explored the role of language in communication, identity formation, meaning making and representation. However, they have rarely examined the political ramifications of what language is in use when discussing these roles, or how language operates as a form of differentially valued cultural capital that is an influential determinant of life chances. This article draws on an exploratory study carried out with eighteen bilingual practitioners residing in Australia who reflect on how language politics infiltrates their personal and professional identities. Although many informants viewed bilinguality as an asset for practice, they were equally aware of the influential position of English in both local and global contexts, its powers of exclusion, and its role in shaping social work knowledge. The article concludes that greater recognition needs to be given to these ‘language politics’ in social work, especially in terms of recognizing how inequitable relations are maintained through the privileging of certain language practices and processes of linguistic othering.
Keyword Language
Social work
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 16 Jan 2009, 12:40:09 EST by Thelma Whitbourne on behalf of School of Social Work and Human Services