Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Transnational Social Work Practice

Transnational Social Work Practice

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Transnational Social Work Practice
    Book Description:

    A growing number of people-immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, displaced individuals, and families-lead lives that transcend national boundaries. Often because of economic pressures, these individuals continually move through places, countries, and cultures, becoming exposed to unique risk and protective factors. Though migration itself has existed for centuries, the availability of fast and cheap transportation as well as today's sophisticated technologies and electronic communications have allowed transmigrants to develop transnational identities and relationships, as well as engage in transnational activities. Yet despite this new reality, social work has yet to establish the parameters of a transnational social work practice.

    In one of the first volumes to address social work practice with this emergent and often marginalized population, practitioners and scholars specializing in transnational issues develop a framework for transnational social work practice. They begin with the historical and environmental context of transnational practice and explore the psychosocial, economic, environmental, and political factors that affect at-risk and vulnerable transnational groups. They then detail practical strategies, supplemented with case examples, for working with transnational populations utilizing this population's existing strengths. They conclude with recommendations for incorporating transnational social work into the curriculum.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52631-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)

    • [1] An Introduction to Transnational Social Work
      (pp. 3-19)

      When you first read the title Transnational Social Work Practice, what came to mind? It is likely you may not have ever heard or seen these words connected together; indeed, the notion of a transnational social work is very, very new. Chances are that if your interest was piqued, it was out of a sense of fascination with globalization and internationalization in social work. When the editors of this volume first published an article on the topic only two years ago, it was one of the few articles that explored the impact of transnationalism and transmigration on social work in...

    • [2] Economic Globalization and Transnational Migration: An Anti–oppressive Framework
      (pp. 20-35)

      Since the dawn of human evolution, humans have migrated across continents in search of food, game, arable land, shelter, safety, and a hospitable climate. People still move for these reasons, but new reasons for human migration are arising, related to forces in the global economy. An analysis of the link between the forces of capitalism in the new global market and transnational migration is the subject of this chapter. An understanding of how such forces—global forces with global consequences—operate is essential to an understanding of the whole immigration debate in the United States and elsewhere, in addition to...

    • [3] Transnational Social Networks and Social Development: Hometown Associations in Mexico and the United States
      (pp. 36-51)

      Migration between Mexico and the United States is an old tradition. This historic relationship has been determined by several factors: adjoining borders, strong cultural and social bonds, and growing economic interdependence between countries. Currently there are an estimated nine million Mexicans living and working in the United States. Since the eighteenth century, Mexicans have crossed the border to the United States to find better economic opportunities. Like the majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries, Mexico has transformed from a country that exports agriculture to one that exports labor.

      A new scenario is developing in these migration patterns, where two...

    • [4] Environmental Decline and Climate Change: Fostering Social and Environmental Justice on a Warming Planet
      (pp. 52-75)

      There is no doubt about the magnitude and seriousness of the task we face as a human species in responding to ecological degradation. Among the various snapshots of the health of the planet’s ecosystems available to us, the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO), the millennium report on the state of the environment by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), represents a uniquely comprehensive collection of data and a fine-grained portrait of Earth’s biosphere and ecology (Woodbridge 2004:165–66; see also McKibben 2007:20). Gathered over five years by a large number of researchers and organizations, the GEO report is a detailed inquiry...

    • [5] Toward Sustainable Development: From Theory to Praxis
      (pp. 76-108)

      “Sustainable development” has become something of a buzzword in development circles. Indeed, sustainable development appears to have replaced such venerable concepts as “growth,” “modernization,” “progress,” and even “accelerated development” as the unifying concept for worldwide development activities. Only the concept of “human development,” which currently has been promulgated by the UNDP (1992), represents a serious challenge to the primacy of sustainable development in the new hierarchy of development concepts.

      To view the sustainable development movement as only a passing fad or as yet another feeble effort to capture the imagination of development policy makers, however, is to miss the power...


    • [6] Social Work Practice with Victims of Transnational Human Trafficking
      (pp. 111-123)

      My name is Maria. I come from a small village in Guatemala. When I was eleven, my parents sold me to an adult villager named Fernando. I was informed shortly thereafter that Fernando and I were going to be smuggled into the United States I did not want to go but Fernando beat me often and I was only 12 years old, so I had to comply with his wishes.

      A “coyote” smuggled us into the United States, where Fernando’s brother owns a landscaping business. I was forced to wake up early every morning and cook for the entire landscaping...

    • [7] Social Work Practice in Refugee Resettlement
      (pp. 124-134)

      How can a social worker best help refugees like Abdi and his family? That is the subject of this chapter, as illustrated by the case of Abdi. The chapter first defines refugees and describes how their experience differs from that of immigrants. Then it describes the scope and distribution of refugee populations worldwide and in the United States, the transnational service delivery system, and the service needs of refugees in resettlement, concluding with practice principles for refugee resettlement work.

      Refugees are very specifically defined by international law, namely, the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951....

    • [8] Transnational Men
      (pp. 135-146)

      Although gender roles have a significant effect on both men and women, the literature has typically focused on women. When gender has been presented in ethical discussions within social work, the discussion typically has centered on the oppressive structures that afect women’s lives. This focus has been valuable and has allowed the profession to contribute to our understanding of sexual trafficking (Schatz and Furman 2002), systematic discrimination in the work place (Vermeulen and Mustard 2000), intimate partner violence (Commonwealth Fund 1999), and other types of sexual violence. Indeed, one of the priorities of the profession has been, and should continue...

    • [9] The Unintended Consequences of Migration: Exploring the Importance of Transnational Migration Between Ecuador and New York
      (pp. 147-158)

      In 1999 Brad Jokisch met “Antonio” in Biblicay, a small agricultural community near Cuenca, in the Ecuadorian Andes. He was in his fifties and lived with his wife and two of his youngest daughters. He had spent many of the previous twenty years in New Jersey, sewing shoes, washing dishes, and working as a restaurant handyman. First migrating in 1980 with the goal of earning enough to build a house and help his children, by 1998 he had made three unauthorized trips. Antonio was caught in Mexico and at the U.S.–Mexico border several times; he convinced border patrol agents...

    • [10] Migrant Workers in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates
      (pp. 159-175)

      Realities of migrant workers are clearly observable throughout the world; marginalization, social dislocation, downward social mobility, and family fragmentation are just some of the problems related to the everyday functioning of migrant workers. This situation is compounded by the fact that migrant work by its very nature is located in the often duplicitous international arena of national and regional migration laws, procedures, and policies that differ greatly from place to place and person to person.

      The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the patterns and social realities of migrant workers in South Africa and the United...

    • [11] Using Internet Technology for Transnational Social Work Practice and Education
      (pp. 176-190)

      This chapter discusses the critical role of information technology in the conduct of transnational social work practice and education. Transnational practice can occur at many places along the continuum of relationships between nations. While transnational practice occurred prior to the advent of the Internet, the limitations placed on this type of practice by distance and resources made it difficult to conduct. The Internet has made transnational social work less of a niche specialty and more of a mainstream part of the social work profession.

      In many ways, the development of Internet technology made globalization, at the rate we have seen...

    • [12] Macro Social Work Practice with Transmigrants
      (pp. 191-204)

      In a fast-changing, globalized world, transmigration has become a crossnational phenomenon with variegated dimensions. Transmigration poses a daunting challenge for individuals, societies, and cultures that are not yet equipped, materially and conceptually, to accept and integrate the new arrivals from diferent shores. The evolving nature of international relationships, however, warrants modalities of cross-national interactions that demand both attention and understanding. This chapter ofers a macro conceptual framework to begin to address transnational social welfare problems.

      Throughout history, the political map of the world has changed as a result of fluctuations in power. In recent times, the fall of the Berlin...

    • [13] Incorporating Transnational Social Work into the Curriculum
      (pp. 205-221)

      A frequently seen billboard in Wisconsin reads, “You Are Here, Where Is Your Family?” It is part of a campaign for evacuation planning in case of an emergency. But to the thousands of transmigrants working in Wisconsin, it probably has another meaning, that is, the constant negotiating of the web of economic, political, and social systems that interface with their livelihoods and definitions of “home” and “family” as they move between two or more nation-states. Helping families deal with these interfaces and complexities is an increasing role of social workers in hospitals, schools, jails, adoption agencies, child welfare agencies, senior...

    • [14] New Practice Frontiers: Current and Future Social Work with Transmigrants
      (pp. 222-242)

      Transmigration has become an increasingly important global reality for social work practice. Recent migration has occurred concomitantly with new ease in worldwide travel, instant communication, and facilitation of money transfers (Portes 1997). These factors can prolong the state of “living in two worlds” in a manner that was inaccessible in the past, blurring the definitions of immigration, acculturation, and transmigrancy. Transmigrancy describes an emerging reality in global migration and represents a paradigm shift for social work practice. Social workers can no longer pay attention to relationships, resources, structures, laws, and history in one locale and not consider the same in...

  5. INDEX
    (pp. 243-248)