Essay, 5 pages (1200 words)

Example of social work and cultural awareness essay

Social work

Sociology is a multidisciplinary approach that borrows from theories of different disciplines. Being one of the most prominent aspects of social science, sociology has ma very demand in the contemporary world. It is imperative to note that the interdisciplinary approach has its roots in charity and community development. Social work has been described variously as an academic and professional discipline that endeavors to improve the quality of life through research, direct practice, education and policy (Fenneret al, 2001). Apparently, sociology borrows theories from economics, medicine, psychology, sociology, education, philosophy and politics. It is a common misconception that sociology is only associated with the poor and helping such poor people lead a better life through providing them with various needs through charity and social movements. On the contrary, social work concerns itself with many aspects of socio-cultural life. Today, social workers are at the forefront in attempting to explain the problems in sexism, discrimination, homophobia and such like complicated concepts.
Historically, social work can be traced back to the industrial revolution. The concepts gained popularity and prominence in the wake of the industrial revolution as a tool to address the economic upheavals of the time (Higham, 2006). The industrial revolution brought about such things as poverty and social inequalities. The poor led a destitute life and could not access such things as healthcare and education. As a result, the social workers of the time rose to help through charity work. Charity entailed giving basic needs to the poor and enabling them access social amenities without much hassle. Even so, the services that were offered in charity were of low quality. It is at this time that the social workers of the time sought to work with the government in improving the conditions of the poor. Notably, the people participating in social work endeavored to have the discipline an important platform through which societal problems could be addressed. Thus, social work developed over the years the complex multidisciplinary field it is today.
Presently, social workers are organized into professional bodies associated with communities, countries and even the international scene. Such bodies are concerned with research into the problems within society. Such research endeavors to reveal the causes of societal injustices and class struggles. The injustices addresses by the social work professional bodies are addresses by the same bodies through NGOs and the government (Flohr, 2010). Social workers are affiliated to many reputable non governmental bodies since such bodies concern themselves with the poor and other societal problems. It is worth noting that besides working with such nongovernmental organizations, most social work bodies are affiliated with religious organizations. The religious organizations are as well connected to various NGOs. As such social work is executed by this humanitarian circle.
The extent to which social work concerns itself with human services management is worth noting. A social worker will usually work with the helping profession, also referred to as guidance and counseling to help people at individual level. Rationally, a helping professional, say a counselor will usually handle those maters dealing with emotions. Emotional breakdowns are addressed by counselors. On the contrary, a social worker will not address the inner personal problems, but rather the problems affecting a person as a result of socio-economic and cultural circumstances (Higham, 2006). In simpler terms, social work helps people at individual level to address such problems as poverty, disease and ignorant. From the economic theories associated with social work, a social worker will help an individual establish self reliance as a way of eradicating poverty.

Cultural awareness

When people travel to places with foreign cultures, they do not expect the people of such places to judge things the way they judge them back at home. The person ought to understand that the people of that culture reason and judge things differently. As such, when communicating, the visitor should understand that the people of the place are culturally different and may perceive things differently. This implies that that which may be right to the individual’s culture may be immoral in the new culture. Essentially, therefore, the person has to understand the culture of the people before making judgments. That is the definition if cultural awareness. In straightforward terms, cultural awareness is an important skill in sociology, enabling a person to understand the cultural beliefs of other people before working with them, or making judgments about them (Tshehle & North-West University, 2009).
Essentially, cultural awareness is the ability to look outside oneself and seeking to understand the cultural environment. The individual beliefs may be provocative to other people. As such, a quick scan through the cultural environment may be necessary before any conveyance of ideas is done by an individual in a foreign culture. Social work entails the carrying out of many activities that touch on people. Such activities may in some cases touch on the culture of the people. As a way of effectively delivering the services of social work, the worker should endeavor to understand the culture of the people (Higham, 2006). For instance, before a social worker goes educating people on the need for the empowerment of women, he should endeavor to understand the role of a woman in the culture of the people. This will make the local communities accept the services of the social worker.

The individual, Social, Political impacts on Social Workers when dealing with Cultural Awareness

When dealing with cultural awareness, the social workers are impacted on differently. For instance, through cultural awareness, an individual will be in a position to communicate better with people from various cultures. The person will be in a position to establish a rapport with people of the foreign cultures. Apparently, cultural awareness is a form of personal enhancement as it helps an individual improve their skills of communication. Speaking from the social sense, the individual that adopts cultural awareness will be capable of interacting and socializing with people more easily than one that prioritizes their individual beliefs (Tshehle & North-West University, 2009). Worth noting is the actuality that cultural awareness is a critical aspect of social work as it enables the social worker deliver their services effectively.
Speaking from the political sense, cultural awareness is critically important as it eliminates prejudices and unnecessary conflicts. Apparently, politics is based on social classes and interactions. As such, people ought to be aware of the ideas of a people before coming up with opinionated messages. Politics is among the most complicated aspects of human beings and coexistence. Coexistence is a concept entailing peaceful interactions. Typically, peace is based on understanding one another. The first step towards such understanding is being culturally aware (Fenneret al, 2001). Social workers work in complicated communities. It is important to note that today’s communities are culturally diverse and call for awareness as a way of handling conflicting cultural ideas.


Fenner, A.-B., Katnić-Bakaršić, M., Kostelníková, M., Penz, H., & European Centre for Modern Languages. (2001). Cultural awareness and language awareness based on dialogic interaction with texts in foreign language learning. Strasbourg (France: Council of Europe Pub.
Flohr, S. (2010). Teaching Literature: Language and Cultural Awareness Using the Example of ” Hills Like White Elephants”. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.
Higham, P. E. (2006). Social work: Introducing professional practice. London: Sage Publications.
Tshehle, T. K., & North-West University (South Africa). (2009). Cultural awareness: Exploring social work students’ sensitivity within a diverse classroom context.

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