Journal Article

Choosing Language: Social Service Framing and Social Justice

Colleen Vojak

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 5, pages 936-949
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Choosing Language: Social Service Framing and Social Justice

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Traditional social service language is embedded in an ideological framework that views individuals as the primary source of their predicaments and the solution to their problems, ignoring racism, poverty and other structural inequities. Stigmatizing language serves to maintain those inequities and reduce the collective sense of responsibility to address them. Social service providers who care about social justice, but do not understand the relationship between language and the larger social vision they want to help create, may unwittingly undermine their own project by reinforcing the language of hegemony.

Keywords: stigma; language; social justice

Journal Article.  5581 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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