Journal Article

A Critical Examination of Immigrant Acculturation: Toward an Anti-Oppressive Social Work Model with Immigrant Adults in a Pluralistic Society

Izumi Sakamoto

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 3, pages 515-535
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm024
A Critical Examination of Immigrant Acculturation: Toward an Anti-Oppressive Social Work Model with Immigrant Adults in a Pluralistic Society

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Today, in North America, the idea of complete assimilation of immigrants no longer seems relevant. Under the commonly espoused ideologies of multiculturalism and pluralism, the goal of social work with immigrants is now integration into the host society, whether that be economically, socially and/or psychologically (Li, 2003). However, critics argue that the traditional idea of immigrant assimilation continues to lurk behind social policies and social services for immigrants, in that the successful integration of immigrants is prompted by their conformation to the dominant culture (Balgopal, 2000). While a growing body of literature on social work with immigrants has resulted in an increased understanding of this diverse population and its needs, the literature still lacks coherent theoretical and ideological frameworks necessary to inform effective models of service delivery. Social work literature on immigrants also requires critical interrogation of the impact of social science theories, particularly in terms of long-held assumptions of culture and acculturation. In this paper, a critical review of literature on acculturation and social work with immigrants will be followed by findings of a qualitative study with skilled immigrants in Canada. Based on the research findings, an anti-oppressive approach to social work with immigrants is proposed.

Keywords: acculturation; integration; anti-oppressive practice; skilled immigrants; service provision

Journal Article.  8708 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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