What Can We Learn from Rethinking 'Multiculturalism' in Social Work Education?

Yochay Nadan, Adital Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, social work has become increasingly engaged with issues related to multiculturalism on theoretical, practical and pedagogical levels. However, discussions regarding the ways in which discourses of multiculturalism are constructed have received little professional attention. In this paper, we present findings from a research project that examines prevalent discourses of multiculturalism in social work education within institutions of higher education in Israel. In-depth interviews were conducted with 33 social work educators, and 30 academic course outlines dealing with multicultural social work were analysed. Data analysis indicated that social work educators conceptualize 'multiculturalism' as containing three distinct attributes: descriptive, practical and socio-political. We discuss the construction of 'multiculturalism' as evolving in two opposite directions: from theory and from reality, and we conclude with practical implications for multicultural social work education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1102
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Cultural Competence
  • Cultural Sensitivity
  • Diversity
  • Multiculturalism
  • Other
  • Social Work
  • Social Work Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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