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Cultural Competence in the Caring Professions

The right of minority groups to define their culture and identity in their own terms is the central theme of this book. O'Hagan argues that a comprehensive definition of culture, and an awareness of all the issues involved, may enable practitioners to fulfil their statutory obligations more effectively. The current assumption of much literature in the caring professions that race is the most crucial component of cultural identity, is challenged. O'Hagan takes a practice-oriented approach, providing case study examples of how self-awareness tools may be employed within the caring professions. The book is divided into three parts. The first part illustrates the challenge of cultural competence for practitioners by describing the experiences of clients in contact with public agencies. The meaning of culture and identity is explored, based on different theoretical approaches, including social theory and international relations theory. The second part identifies many features of the caring professions which have not been conducive to acquiring cultural awareness and sensitivity. This leads on to the last part, which analyses frameworks for good practice. Each of these frameworks will enable the reader to explore their own attitudes and approaches to different aspects of culture. This book is essential reading for all those working with minority groups in the caring professions.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction. Part One: Re-discovering Culture. 1. A Tale of Two Cultures. 2. Culture: A Global Concept. 3. Towards a Definition of `Culture' and `Cultural Identity'. 4. Islam 5. American Indians. 6. Australian Aborigines. Part Two: Obstacles and Challenges to Cultural Competence. 7. The Traditional Lack of Cultural Awareness within the Caring Professions. 8. Perceptions of Culture within Anti-Racist and Anti-Discriminatory Practice. 9. Culture and Religion. 10. Culture and Language. Part Three. Part Three: The Way Forward 11. Cultural Sensitivity and Cultural Insensitivity. 12. Commentary on Research Findings. 13. Agency Perspective. 14. Definition: Completing the Task 15. Training for Cultural Competence 16. Epilogue. References.

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Develop improved levels of cultural competency with the case study examples and self-awareness tools in this guide for caring professionals

About the Author

Kieran O'Hagan is an established writer and former Reader in the School of Social Work at The Queen's University, Belfast. He worked for over twenty years in the social services in Britain. He has also lectured and worked in Australia, India and the USA. He has published many books and articles on a wide range of subjects in welfare and in training, including child abuse, crisis intervention, social work competence and the abuse of women in family and child care.


This material will be a good teaching resource, and is rightly included as part of the way forward, for by the end of this book, O'Hagan has made a convincing case for people who work in the caring professions to develop and practise improved levels of cultural competency. This book provides a great resource for students and practitioners learning about cultural sensitivity. It is challenging, and the personal disclosures in the Acknowledgements and Epilogue speak for the sincerity with which the challenges are made. I encourage people in the caring professions to take them up. -- International Social Work The idea of cultural competence has become the big idea in health care and is beginning to creep into social care. This is a useful book that provides an opportunity to reflect on the issues and differences between anti-racist and culturally sensitive practice. -- Community Care

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