CSWE Press

Social Work Practice for Social Justice: From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression (2nd edition)

Betty Garcia and Dorothy Van Soest
Publication Date: 10/13/2021
ISBN:  978-0-87293-210-4 (paperback); 978-0-87293-212-8 (Kindle); 978-0-87293-211-1 (ePub)
Pages: 264
Publisher: CSWE Press
Topics: Case Studies Cultural Competence Social Justice

An invitation and challenge to students and practitioners to tackle the personal and institutional obstacles preventing the social work profession from realizing its mandate to promote social justice. Systemic racism is centered as the foundation oppression of our country to provide the gateway for understanding and dismantling all other systems of oppression. Garcia and Van Soest probe essential questions about how social justice theories, institutional practices, and deep-seated personal and societal belief systems function to rationalize and support oppression, and they provide numerous exercises as a guide to increased awareness, understanding, and anti-oppression action.

About the Authors

Betty Garcia is Professor Emerita at the Department of Social Work Education at California State University, Fresno and obtained a MSW at San Diego State and a PhD in Social Psychology at Boston University.  Dr. Garcia has taught courses in direct practice, public mental health, diversity/oppression, and Project/Thesis.  She has sat on the boards of directors for Affilia, NASW and CSWE, and several CSWE Commissions.  She also chaired the NASW National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (NCORED), CSWE Cultural Competence Tract and development of the NASW Indicators for the Achievement of the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice (2007).  Dr. Garcia’s recent publications are on the interface between DSM practice and resilience/intersectionality and oppression.

Dorothy Van Soest is Professor Emerita and former Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Washington with a BA in English Literature and a Masters and PhD in Social Work. She has taught courses at several universities related to societal oppression, cultural diversity, and social work practice for social justice and served on several national committees and boards, including Affilia, NASW, and CSWE. Dr. Van Soest has a publication record of thirteen books and over sixty articles essays related to social justice theory, research, and activism. In 2014, she turned to writing fiction with four published novels, each of which deals with a current social issue.


“Social Work Practice for Social Justice is an articulate and a highly engaging book that is timely and relevant, reflecting on contemporary societal divisiveness grounded in race, politics, COVID, and economic disparities as well as long standing injustices. This is a highly practical book filled with specific activities, powerful and detailed case examples, and guidance to promote multilayered reflection and discussion. The book does not shy away from acknowledging that anti-oppressive work is difficult and often uncomfortable, while consistently affirming the importance of this courageous work. Students and instructors from different backgrounds and experience levels can all find meaningful guidance and glean new insights from immersing themselves in this book.”—Hilary N. Weaver, Professor & Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, University at Buffalo School of Social Work

Social Work Practice for Social Justice: From Cultural Competence to Anti-Oppression (2nd edition)