‘Off topic in some places (global warming)’: a critical and radical response to connecting social work teaching to a global climate emergency

Geraldine Graham*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In 2012, Lena Dominelli brought us a timely and essential warning that it was time for the social work profession to recognise its role in examining how the environmental crisis will cause hardship and suffering to communities with whom the profession has traditionally worked. It is fair to say that progress has been slow; a search of published module descriptors for social work programmes delivered across Scotland indicates that there remain barriers to engagement with the climate crisis. This article will focus on the importance of incorporating a critical and radical perspective into social work teaching. This will be achieved by reflecting on, first, learning and teaching theory, and, second, psychological theory, such as the theory of normative conduct. Insight into the reasons for resistance to participation in discourse about the impact of the environmental crisis will be explored through reflecting on climate change theory, teaching theory and the curriculum, along with psychological barriers. This article argues that the critical and radical approach to social work teaching is ideally situated to lead on the inclusion of environmental challenges in social work education and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalCritical and Radical Social Work
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • climate change
  • climate emergency
  • critical and radical social work
  • ecological social work

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