Politics and Positionality: Engaging with Maps of Meaning

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    Abstract

    This article considers critical social work education within the context of the challenges associated with the increasingly neoliberal, corporate and competitive nature of higher education and human service provision. The metaphor of maps is used as a framework for exploring the potential for transformational learning opportunities associated with alternative ways of thinking about teaching and learning. Countering the neoliberal tendency to depoliticise, metaphors of maps and map-reading, as discussed here and applied to social work education, evoke diverse perspectives and engagements in relation to the politics of knowledge, knowing, theory and practice. In emphasising the partiality of knowledge, the indivisibility of the ‘knower’ and the ‘known’ and, as such, the personal and the professional, efforts to cultivate critical consciousness, thus, enable different conversations. The central premise of this article is that in offering opportunities for engagement which open up rather than close down the space for meaningful dialogue, educators may contribute, in profound ways, to both student development and the (re)shaping of public discourse.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)275-285
    Number of pages11
    JournalSocial Work Education
    Volume34
    Issue number3
    Early online date2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015

    Keywords

    • Critical Social Work
    • Critical Theories
    • Knowledge
    • Narrative Approaches
    • Neoliberalism
    • Reflection
    • Social Work Education
    • Teaching and Learning

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