What Knowledge Counts in International Social Work Education?
The risks to re-produce colonial knowledge structures and to make knowledges from the ‘Global South’ invisible are increased by having western-centred curricula and by the universalisation of dominant concepts and research from ‘western countries’. This is also true for International Social Work Education (ISWE) (Rasell et al., 2019). The 'Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training' (IASSW/IFSW, 2020) take into account the necessity to overcome colonial power structures in training and practices. ISWE aims to prepare its students for practice in the international context, supporting people in dealing locally with challenges, which arise due to globalisation and migration. In order to do so, ISWE integrates human rights and social development, ecological and global perspectives (Pawar, 2010). By a critical educational science discourse analysis (Fegter et al., 2015) and social cartography (Paulston, 1996) I research concept ualisations of internationality in curricula of master programmes of International Social Work in Germany. Germany is a significant case study, because it has a high rate of migration as well as many organisations directed towards ‘international aid’. The findings show, that research modules do seldom take into account, how knowledge is becoming. Likewise, epistemological questions are sparsely found. Instead ISWE curricula refer to many standards, but it is neither defined nor questioned whose standards are meant and valid. Power dynamics in research are not focused and responsibility in research is discussed regarding data usage mainly. The critical-reflective level is mostly opened up in relation to ethics, but seldom on the question what counts as knowledge and what knowledge counts in ISWE. The study shows how western-centred, colonial discourses are (de-)constructed in curricula. This serves as a foundation for developing curricula, which integrate plural knowledges in academic knowledge production.
Keyword - International Social Work Education, Curriculum Design, Discourse Analysis, (De-)construction of Colonial Discourses, Integration of Plural Knowledges.