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Unveiling Whiteness within organisations working with people of refugee background


Vincent, K, Unveiling Whiteness within organisations working with people of refugee background, The British Journal of Social Work pp. 1-18. ISSN 0045-3102 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (

DOI: doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcac208


This article explores how Australian social workers who work with people resettling interpret Whiteness operating within organisational practices and contexts. Eight White Tasmanian social workers participated in a multimethod qualitative study informed by relationality and a dialogical framework. The research data were analysed using narrative analysis. Participants reported that Whiteness operated through workplace climate, culture and practices, and how physical spaces are constructed. Whilst the majority reported feeling discomfort about these contexts and practices, many had not spoken up or challenged Whiteness within organisations, affirming and perpetuating Whiteness. This research highlights the importance of social workers becoming actively involved in decision-making that explores alternatives to dominant approaches to refugee resettlement. Given the research suggests that knowing about Whiteness does not guarantee action, social workers also need to explore strategies for ensuring that they speak up to challenge Whiteness. However, service delivery models which are refugee-led and/or refugee-staffed organisations, or who utilise accountability practices are alternatives requiring more attention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:complicity, organisational contexts, organisational practices, people of refugee background, social work, Whiteness
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Social work
Research Field:Counselling, wellbeing and community services
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Vincent, K (Dr Kate Vincent)
ID Code:154300
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Social Work
Deposited On:2022-11-22
Last Modified:2023-01-18
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