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SWSP2003 Critical Self Reflection: Social Work Theories Assessment 2 Answer

SWSP2003: Critical Social Work Theories

Discipline of Social Work

Assessment 2

Assessment Type
Critical Reflection Essay
Aligned Learning outcomes
b. Advanced knowledge of the historical development of critical theory to explain the fundamental structural nature of poverty, inequality, disadvantage and marginalisation. Students will also be able to critically evaluate existing policies and programs developed to address disadvantage and oppression.
e. Cognitive, technical, and creative skills including critical and structural analysis and critical reflection. Demonstrated use of these skills to critically reflect on the ‘self’, identity and social location. Ability to link critical reflection implications for critical social work practice.
2000 words, excluding reference list

Assessment Task 2 Details and Instructions


This assessment requires you to write a critical reflection essay that demonstrates an understanding of the impact of your own social location, privilege and oppression on your critical social work practice. In the answer, you are to explore structural inequality, personal privilege, power and subjugation and link this with implications for your critical social work practice.

Complete the Buzzfeed Privilege Quiz in class (quiz can be found, reflect upon the outcome of the Buzzfeed quiz and explore how their privilege/ oppression may impact their social work practice with clients. Use critical theory as a lens for critical reflection for practice.

Assessment Criteria  Task 2

Write a critical reflection essay about your own social location, privilege and oppression

  1. Explain what critical self-reflection is and its importance for social workers
  2. Describe your social location (explain the terms with a references): class, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, age and geo-political location
  3. Demonstrate the intersections of your unearned privilege and experiences of oppression (explain the terms). Give personal examples from your family, community, and or life in Australia.
  4. Explore how the above might affect your critical social work practice ie who you may relate and feel empathy for or who you may feel biased against and how you will overcome your biases to be non judgemental in your social work with people.
  5. Use anti oppressive language and at least 6 critical social work references from this unit

Academic writing criteria:

  1. Follow an essay style format (introduction, body, conclusion, with in-text citations and a reference list)
  2. Present the main ideas clearly and logically
  3. Us using APA (7th edition) referencing conventions as outlined in the learning support website.
  4. Word count is within + or - 10% of requirement
  5. Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation



The critical reflection of a social worker is presented in the course of analyzing oneself through assumptions and based on knowledge gained, beliefs embedded through cultural practices and values that emerge from the family backgrounds. We, as social workers, are aware of the social context where our services are used and for whom we provide services. The actions performed by us consciously have the impact of our social locations, identities and position in the society (Morley et al. 2019). The critical reflection aims to highlight the experiences that we gain with our positions, privilege, and our outlook towards the society while providing services to the oppressed and people who sincerely need them for their progress. The essay aims to establish the facts which surround our experience as social workers and how our traditions, culture, family and upbringing can support the people who require social services depending upon their conditions. 


Evaluation of critical self-reflection

The term critical reflection is thoroughly defined by the Mezirow, where critical self-reflection highlights three forms where the key elements are how we think and act, how we perform a given task, and how we reflect on the premise of perceiving our tasks (Mezirow & Taylor, 2009). The significance of critical self-reflection for the social workers indicates the routinely applying the reflections to analyze the complicated cases thoroughly that they deal with and how they can encourage the oppressed to voice out their opinions. The complex structure of the society provides privilege to some owing to their class, position, gender and culture while some are still in the oppression of being discriminated and harassed in public (Blackwell, 2019). The critical self-reflection also enables the social workers to form a judgment based on their hypotheses and better understanding, keeping in perspective of the ethical practices which supports them in decision-making for complex cases.  

 The evaluation of our perspective on the society and hypothesis on our performance towards the society helps in acknowledging the factors which work in favour of our privilege, position and power that we are authorized. I have been moderately privileged upbringing where my ancestors from Britain settled in Australia in the 1900s. The colonization by the British army was seen as oppression. However, the scenario changed with the settlement of the British in New South Wales. I have been born and brought up in Melbourne, which is considered as one of the hubs of immigrants (Pease et al. 2016). The upper-middle-class family upbringing could feel the difference of attitude and social position in the community. The city of Wyndham is mostly populated with Chinese, Italian, Australian, Irish, Vietnamese, and other ethnicities. The usual impact of my conversation with my peers had always been intriguing since my social position has been questioned, which reflected in my behaviour.  

The description of social location

 The open-mindedness and impact of western culture in our bloodline have made me self-dependent, whereas there have been contradictory voices from people who belonged from oppressed classes. Melbourne has been an important financial city where people staying below poverty have been witnessed since the recession. I have been vocal for the poverty, unemployment, and lack of housing facilities for the immigrants in Melbourne through the NGO that I have started volunteering (Shimei et al. 2016). The culture in our bloodline has impacted my social life where I have idolized people like Norma Parker, and Viva Murphy. They were eminent people in social services and motivated my efforts to become a social activist. The position of the female in society has not been appreciated until they used their power and privilege to change the thoughts and provocations of the society. Being a woman, I have been subjected to such discrepancy where people created obstacles in my journey.

 I have witnessed the oppressors and oppressed in close vicinity, which provoked my senses for better understanding the differences in class, religion, ethnicity, gender, and geopolitical location of social workers. I have been an atheist though my family believes in Christianity. My sexual orientation has been straight and can describe myself as an able-bodied person. The striking difference that I witnessed being in the place of privilege in the society is an incident that happened with my dear classmate, who belonged from a Muslim family. Her parents were migrants from Pakistan who settled in this country recently to make their fortune (Van Breda, 2016). She was always harassed by the other culture people who even linked her to terrorist groups. The cultural competence was mere a fallacy until we together voiced our concern to the departmental authority, urging them to take strict actions. This incident of religious and cultural discrimination shook my belief which provoked me to take the course of social work where regular people are abused or harassed due to their ethnicities or cultural background.  

Intersection on unearned privilege and experiences 

 The unearned privilege emphasizes the benefits that a person accrue with the virtue of birth, social position, class, gender or any other factor where the person did not work hard to earn that privilege. The intersection of unearned privilege and experience of oppression that I faced in the society is the superiority of the Australians while considering us as the immigrants even after so many years of our settlement in this country. However, this oppression is not widespread in society and is visible in a few pockets of the country. Being an upper-middle-class citizen, I have the unearned privilege of getting admitted to one of the reputed colleges where mostly children of rich families take admission. Their attitude is different where they feel that their unearned privilege does not matter in their conduct, and everything can be taken for granted by paying compensation (Egan et al. 2016). I am a good researcher and diligent student with good scores in academics. The students who were enrolled in my class have been more privilege with low scores as their parents can afford to provide any amount as compensation. These students always harassed me in the class or wherever I met them in the college premises mocking my class or social position as a disadvantage and shame for me. A similar incident has happened with a Sri Lankan Family who was compared being Blacks among the White people in our community (Patil & Ennis, 2018). Though the family was never publicly harassed, yet people called them with nasty names which clearly showed racial and cultural discrimination through their choice of words.  

The struggle of the aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders are easily forgotten by the people of Australia whom they unabashedly insult. The moral abomination of race and culture exist in few pockets of Australia, which I have personally witnessed. One of my acquaintances belongs to the Aboriginal group who works industriously along with me while volunteering for an NGO fighting for the cause of the indigenous tribes of Australia. There are few people associated with the NGO who feel that Aboriginals must be left as they are since they do not respond to the modern lifestyles. The stereotypical thoughts of few people discriminate their presence in our society (Georgatos, 2017). The lack of medicine to their community was the first incident against which we raised our voice (Ferguson, 2018). We made provisions for the basic medicine that they require and basic hygiene which they need to follow. In contrast, few people created obstacles citing their own prejudiced opinions and thoughts against our approach to support the community.  

The life in Australia in the context of social living is complicated due to the constant clash of ego, racism, and social oppression on the indigenous tribes. I, it is hard for me to imagine the oppression that people have to undergo due to their ethnicity, class, and race struggle in society. Recently, a Victorian woman dies in prison due to harassment where she was just found guilty of minor charges. Even the attempts of bridging the gap of education, health, and employment are not yet successful for the indigenous tribes residing in Australia. It is a fact revealed by Australian Medical Association in the year 2018 that the burden on government exchequer on health and care for the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander is more due to the disease they face than the non-aboriginals is 2.3 times higher (Bullimore, 2020). The exclusion of health services, employment have poor housing conditions, limited facilities of education have worsened the lives of the aboriginal people, and they suffer more than their counterparts in Australia.

Critical social work practice 

 The social oppression when takes the shape of dictating a community it feels that I am also a part of it. The history of the British rule, capturing the islands and colonization has an embedded impact in my mind where I feel that I am also a part of the oppressor group who have ruled for so many years and captivated the indigenous tribes and communities (Taylor and Habibis, 2020). In the 21st century, the government is still trying to convince the aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to adopt the modern living styles. Still, it lacks the resources and efficiency to reduce the gap of inequalities of health issues, education, housing, and social facilities. The Rohingya community who seek shelter in Australia after they lost their land in Myanmar also lives in a state of oppression as they are categorized as refugees in Australia (Alcom, 2019). The ethnicity is related to Muslims who are looked down by other religious groups in every corner of the world. Even the articles and journals published on this community states the Rohingya people as illegal immigrants where their entire existence is abolished from their mainland. 

 The social work practice, however, takes into consideration the code of ethics which emphasize respecting every client or human being irrespective of their class, religion, culture, or gender. The social justice and professional integrity are of utmost importance for me to follow that via supported by the ethics of social work. Hence it conveniently attracts my attention towards the oppressed of the society (Social Work Values, 2010). The LGBTQ community is also struggling with their war against the social prejudices and biased attitude. My personal experience in this sector of social injustice to the people is limited but can feel their anxiety and pressure to establish their rights of freedom to live as they are in society. I being a social worker, my prejudice clearly distinguishes the oppressed and working them for their benefits (Parsell et al. 2017). The personal experiences have an adverse impact on my mind, where I have stopped being judgmental on the oppressed irrespective of their class, religion, and other factors. I have witnessed a case where an elderly couple from a rich family had to shift to care homes since their children were too busy with their lives and had no time for their parents. Irrespective of their wealth, the couple felt distressed and oppressed under the uncivil attitude that they had to face regularly in their home for a prolonged period.  

 The primary motive that I possess regarding my practice in social work is to get the relevant opportunity in the government agencies which are promoting employment, housing facilities, education, and gender equality in the workplace in Australia through Department of Social Services. The engagement with the government agencies will help me understand the practical requirement of the oppressed people of the society and I can contribute towards their welfare through the programs initiated for them (Helm & Roesch-Marsh, 2017). The empathetic feelings and communication skills can be enhanced while serving the community and convincing them to utilize the scope for improving their standard of living and health benefits which will be a significant improvement for the indigenous tribes.


In conclusion, I would like to highlight the quality of work rendered by the social workgroup in uplifting the conditions of the oppressed people of the society. The oppressed people in the society are large in numbers who are regularly harassed or abused because of the superior power and position given to a few wealthy people of the society. This attitude has to be overcome in the coming years to justify the rationale of social work required to bring transformation in the society. The outlook of the people needs to be changed with the proper balance in the societal position. 

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