Rethinking cultural competence: What can we learn from levinas?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse 'cultural competence' as a theoretical construct and re-conceptualise it within the framework of Emanuel Levinas' theory of 'Other'. Drawing on the work of the French philosopher (1905-95), this article discusses dominant mainstream conceptions of cultural competence through an examination of the complexity inherent in the intersection and relationship between the two valueladen concepts of 'cultural competence' and 'Other'. The paper provides a theoretical overview of the concept, presents Levinas' conceptualisation of the 'Other', examines epistemological and ethical stances with regard to 'Self' and 'Other', and discusses the theoretical and practical implications for the social work profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2155-2167
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Cultural competence
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Diversity
  • Levinas
  • Other

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Rethinking cultural competence: What can we learn from levinas?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this