SWSP6063 International Social Work – Global Context

Level: Master
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: MSW(Q): SWSP6003 and SWSP6013; MSW: No prerequisites
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: MSW(Q): Elective, MSW: Core

Unit Description

This unit explores whether it is possible to talk about international social work and if so what it looks like. Is it possible for social work to shrug off its past hegemonic structures and develop a non-hegemonic and anti-imperialist social work with professional partners from abroad? This unit asks students to reflect on this and come up with an answer. The links between international development and international social work are explored, and current international social work practice.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast global structures and global politics and its impact on cultures and national politics and citizenship.
  2. Articulate the history and conflicts associated with international social work and its development.
  3. Analyse in depth various perspectives and approaches to international social work.
  4. Critically reflect on global issues from a social work perspective.
  5. Demonstrate a working knowledge of current international social work practice and education.
  6. Articulate social work’s role in further international issues, especially the role of education and research.
  7. Plan and execute a research project and identify all steps involved and reflect on its process and outcome.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Recommended Texts

  • Harrison, G., & Melville, R. (2010). Rethinking social work in a global world. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hugman, R. (2010). Understanding international social work: A critical analysis. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Noble, C., Strauss, H., & Littlechild, B. (Eds.) (2014). Global social work: Crossing borders, blurring boundaries. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press.

Recommended Readings

  • Borrmann, S., Klassen, M., & Spatscheck, C. (Eds.) (2007). International social work: Social problems, cultural issues and social work education. Oplade, Germany: Barbara Budrich Publishers.
  • Cox, D., & Pawer, M. (2012). International social work: Issues, strategies and programs. London, England: SAGE Publications.
  • Dominelli, L. (Ed.) (2007). Revitalising communities in a globalising world. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Dominelli, L. (2010). Social work in a globalising world. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.
  • Dominelli, L. (2012). Green social work: From environmental crises to environmental justice. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.
  • Dominelli, L., & Bernard Thomas, W. (Eds.) (2003). Broadening horizons: International exchanges in social work. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Gray, M., & Webb, S. A. (2013). The politics of social work. New York, NY: Palgrave, Macmillan.
  • Healy, L. (2008). International social work: Professional action in an independent world (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Healy, L., & Link. R. (Eds.) (2012). Handbook of international social work: Human rights, development, and the global profession. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Ife, J. (2013). Human Rights and Social Work: Towards Rights-based Practice. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lyons, K., Hokenstad, T., Pawar, M., Huegler, N., & Hall, N. (Eds.) (2012). The SAGE handbook of international social work. London, England: SAGE Publications.
  • Lyons, K., Manion, K., & Carlsen, M. (2006). International perspectives on social work: Global conditions and local practice. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Payne. M., & Askeland, G. A. (2008). Globalization & international social work: Postmodern changes & challenges. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing
  • Tascon, S. (2016) ‘The Humanitarian Gaze’, Human Rights Films, and Social Work: Linking the Global and the Local (unpublished)
  • Tripodi, T., & Tropodi-Potocky, M. (2007). International social work research: Issues and prospects. London, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Wainryb, C., Smatana, J., & Turiel, E. (2012). Social development, social inequalities, and social justice. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.