‘Otherness and mutual foreignness’ in helping relationships: a theoretical contribution for social work interventions with people from migration background

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

Abstract

This article offers an original interpretation of Otherness and Foreignness concepts, based on the peculiarities and challenges of intercultural helping relationships. In the social work discourse, the concepts of ‘Otherness’ and ‘Foreignness’ are core, often mentioned in a non-relational way adopting legal and administrative logics that involuntarily reproduce one-sided dynamics and borders between insider and outsider, Self and Other, and helper and helpee. The initial conceptual point of the paper is the recognition that each helping relationship starts with a reciprocal state of foreignness in which nobody is a foreigner by definition. Instead, at the beginning, each is foreigner to the other. Otherness, mutual foreignness, and sharing are the defining factors of social work relationships. This theoretical contribution can inspire educators, practitioners, and researchers in stimulating insights, challenging unethical misconceptions, and revisiting personal and societal representations about people from migration background, overcoming barriers for social work practice and education purposes.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-13
Numero di pagine13
RivistaEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023

Keywords

  • foreignness
  • migration background
  • otherness
  • relationship
  • social work

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