Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

Contemporary society is characterised by its ever-increasing diversity. Having sold over 70,000 copies across its four editions, Neil Thompson's classic text remains a trusted introduction to the challenges of promoting social justice and equality.

Addressing the ways in which social workers can effectively challenge inequality within society, the book explores the many forms of discrimination that can lead to disadvantage, disempowerment and oppression. Written with Thompson's inimitable clarity, this edition features:
• Three all-new chapters, including a contextual introduction and chapters on sexuality and religious discrimination;
• An explicit theory base, through extended discussion of the widely used PCS model;
• A range of questions for reflection and comprehensive guidance on further reading, incorporating books, articles and websites.

Today, good social work practice must be anti-discriminatory. This fully updated edition is therefore an essential read for the next generation of social work students, practitioners, managers and educators.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
During the late 1980s social work education became increasingly aware of the impact of oppression and discrimination on clients and communities. There was a growing awareness and recognition of the relative neglect of such issues in traditional approaches to social work. This emphasis on combating discrimination is part of the process of establishing an awareness of discrimination and a commitment to challenging it as fundamental building blocks of qualifying training and subsequent practice. They were therefore seen as an essential part of the curriculum and the evaluation process and continue to be regarded as such, as is shown by their inclusion in the curriculum for the current qualifying programmes in social work.
Neil Thompson

Chapter 1. Equality, diversity and social justice

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn more about the key concept of discrimination and why it is so important in social work and related professional disciplines
  • Start to understand how anti-discriminatory practice is underpinned by a commitment to equality, diversity and social justice
  • Appreciate the importance of moving away from medicalized approaches to personal and social problems which oversimplify complex issues
Neil Thompson

Chapter 2. The theory base

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn about the significance of the various ways in which society divides people into groups or categories (class, gender and so on)
  • Explore a theoretical model (PCS analysis) which emphasizes the importance of understanding the personal, cultural and structural aspects of discrimination and the interrelationships across the three
  • Appreciate how discrimination can arise in complex ways that are not simply matters of personal prejudice and not necessarily intentional
Neil Thompson

Chapter 3. Gender and sexism

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Appreciate the significance of gender as a key factor in people’s lives and an important influence on how we experience our lives
  • Learn about the ways in which sexism can be a major feature of the problems many people encounter, either a problem in its own right or something that makes other problems significantly worse
  • Explore the implications of these issues for professional practice
Neil Thompson

Chapter 4. Ethnicity and racism

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn about the nature and significance of racism and begin to understand why it has to be taken very seriously
  • Recognize how language, nation and region can also form the basis for unfair discrimination in various ways
  • Explore the implications of these complex issues for professional practice
Neil Thompson

Chapter 5. Ageism and alienation

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Begin to understand how age serves as a basis for discrimination; the chapter focuses on older people but there are also significant implications in relation to discrimination against children and young people
  • Appreciate how common ageism is and how harmful it can be
  • Explore strategies for avoiding and challenging ageism in professional practice
Neil Thompson

Chapter 6. Disability and social handicap

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn about how disability is a major basis of (often unwitting) discrimination
  • Recognize that such discrimination is rooted in widespread social attitudes towards disability and is not simply a matter of the prejudice of a bigoted minority
  • Explore the implications of disablism for professional practice.
Neil Thompson

Chapter 7. Sexuality and heterosexism

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn about how a person’s sexual orientation or identity can form the basis of discrimination in a variety of ways
  • Appreciate how much harm such discrimination can do
  • Explore the implications of such matters for professional practice
Neil Thompson

Chapter 8. Faith and religious discrimination

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • Learn about how discrimination can arise on the basis of membership of a religious group (and in some cases on the basis of having no religion)
  • Explore how political events in recent years have fuelled religious discrimination against Muslims (what has come to be referred to as ‘Islamophobia’)
  • Consider the implications of religious discrimination for professional practice
Neil Thompson

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Abstract
In this chapter you will:
  • By way of conclusion, be reminded of the main themes on which the book is based
  • Recognize the important steps that need to be taken to take anti-discriminatory practice forward
  • Consider some of the main pitfalls to be avoided in developing genuinely anti-discriminatory practice
Neil Thompson
Additional information