October 12, 2021 |  – 12
Language: English

Topic: “Playing with Privilege – A method to explore Social Justice and Social Work’s mission”

Contributor: Veerle Meijer (The Netherlands Red Cross)

In contemporary world, many institutional and structural inequalities exists. These call for social work professionals to reconnect with their historical mission of social justice. Focussing on understanding the root causes of problems is essential in order to change these, or their symptoms. However, research has shown that social workers seem reluctant to asses and or confront political dimensions of practice.

Schools of social work are using knowledge transaction and reflection to create distanced professionals who are observer-neutral and context-free. However, analysing the society, politics and privilege are essential elements in education. The (online) board game “Playing with privilege’ aims to enhance education in a playful manner, while gently introducing the true meaning of social justice by exploring privilege and oppression.

The hands-on and highly interactive workshop is oriented to identify social inequalities that are visible all around us. It aims to counteract beliefs of neoliberalism and meritocracy by increasing awareness and knowledge of the systems of privilege, and the importance to question these. It increases players’ understanding of society by identifying structures which influence the privilege and disadvantages on different levels.

Players will step in someone else’s shoes and experience a feeling of winning or unfairness, based on their role card. After, participants pay (more) attention to the encounters with others in everyday life, and learn to avoid copying inequalities and exclusions on different levels, which the social work profession is trying to counteract.

This educational method and workshop is inviting all professional social workers, educators, managers and students to think about social justice in a different matter, and to (re)ignite conversations about privilege and societal inequality, and Social Work’s mission to advocate for better.