Professional 'imperialism' and resistance: social work in the Filippines

Jeremy Price, Kepa Artaraz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sociology of professions has traditionally attempted to increase our understanding ofcategorisations of different occupations by reference to taxonomic hierarchies as well as theidentification and exploration of characteristics that warrant „professional status‟. In many cases, theseexplorations take the form of historical accounts of professional activity. Rarely however, has theliterature on professions explored processes of professionalization in developing, post-colonialcontexts. This article contributes to this body of literature in the study of professions in a number ofways. Firstly, it „maps‟ the growth of social work in the Philippines, placing this account within abroader discussion of social work as an international activity (Harrison & Melville, 2010; Lyons, 2006)and identifying some of the key forms and features of social work in the Philippines. Consideration isgiven to the degree of professionalisation of social work within the country by exploring professionalorganisation, regulation and education. In doing this, the article offers a critical overview of the natureand preoccupations of social work in the Philippines and celebrates the invaluable contributions itmakes to the country and its people.The article argues that the forms social work takes and the settings in which it happens reflect bothcontemporary societal and environmental factors as well as the global development of social work. Inthis sense, the article considers the impact of Roman Catholicism as well as the orientation of socialwork in relation to some enduring tensions and debates around the profession‟s purpose andpotential. Key to the professional form that social work takes in the Philippines is the contribution ofthe „indigenous‟ social work knowledge base which is explored, alongside a commentary on socialwork education and training in the country
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-53
Number of pages26
JournalTrabajo Social Global. Revista de Investigaciones en Intervencion Social
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

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