Popular social work

Authored by: Michael Lavalette

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138578432
eBook ISBN: 9781351264402
Adobe ISBN:


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In early 2006 I started to undertake some research in the Palestinian West Bank. The primary focus of the research was to look at young people’s experiences of life under occupation (Jones and Lavalette, 2011a). Whilst carrying out the research, I came across some fantastic projects that looked to provide a range of services for traumatised refugee communities. What was noteworthy was that, in a context of unbelievable hardship, with almost daily harassment from the Israeli army, there were social work projects that were effective, popular and critical to survival. In the Balata camp, near Nablus, the actions of the Israeli army and security services left many young children traumatised and terrorised. These children had been tortured and imprisoned by the Israeli Defence Force, or had witnessed their parents and grandparents injured, killed or systematically humiliated at the army checkpoints.

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