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2009 Critical Indian Social Work Project, NASWDTE, Insight Foundation, Delhi The Critical Indian Social Work

Project is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers for Dalit and Tribal Empowerment, Mumbai. The initiative constitutes two smaller project components; a Working Paper series inclusive of Discussion Papers and the DalTri Project (Dalit Tribal Project). The working papers and discussion papers are an outcome of a series of discussions of Professional Social Work Educators and Practitioners working for Dalit and Tribal Rights within the NASWDTE on vital contemporary issues pertaining to professional social work and professional social work education in India. The working papers critically examine key academic components in professional social work within the realms of its history, theory and practice. The thrust of the analysis is located within an anti-oppressive perspective contextualized to the caste and tribe realities in India. Most of the writings are critical and progressive, stemming from an agitational position to dominant traditional social work paradigms. The working papers and discussion paper series focuses on professional social work issues such as social works history and ideology, perspectives, practice-paradigms and social works political role. Key components in professional social work education, such as fieldwork, methods, generic-specialization, concentrations, specific courses, research, advance skills, rural practicum, group labs, pedagogy and overall structure of the Bachelors and Masters programmes are also critically appraised. The aim of the discussion papers and working paper series is to problematise social work academic content towards indigenization, leading to an innovative reformulation of Indian Social Work practice frameworks that are relevant, meaningful and efficacious in the Indian situation. Series Editor bodhi dsr

Disclaimer The findings, interpretations, views, and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NASWDTE or INSIGHT Foundation

The Critical Indian Social Work Project Working Paper Series- B3

A Critical Perspective to Social Work Supervision in Field Work Laying the Concept and Frame of a Critical Social Work Pedagogy PART THREE:
Content of supervision and Supervisory processes for second semester fieldwork


Part Three of the Critical Perspective to Social Work Supervision in Field Work series, lays down the Supervisory processes and content of supervision for second semester fieldwork. The framework formulation emerging from experiential engagement is articulated in an autoethnographic manner. This being so, the basis for formulation is processual and thus cannot claim to be complete. The epistemic premise being constructivist, what is stated as an imperative today could change depending much on the contextual reality. Through a dialogical process, what is imparted to students deepens and broadens students understanding of social reality and overall conception of a change agent role. This paper incorporates key contextual content and issues such as ideological positions within Indian Social Work, philosophical foundations of methodology, the conceptual frame of the Indian Constitution and methodological approaches to social work methods. .
bodhi dsr is Assistant Professor in the Centre for Social Justice and Governance, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai INTRODUCTION

The second semester fieldwork is operationalised within a concurrent framework. Other Schools of Social Work across the country also follow a similar system with the exception of a few schools situated in North East India. Weekdays for field work also differ from one school to the other. There are some who complete fifteen hours per week 1 and others who complete 22 hours per week2. However in most schools, for the second semester students report back to the same agency of the first semester. My personal experience is located within the concurrent system although for a period of two years I did have the opportunity to supervise students within a block (five weeks) system. Key reflections on my experience have led me to an understanding that the second semester as a whole is a period of intense conflict and confusion for students. Reasons such as a sense of incongruousness; feeling out of place vis--vis social work profession, mismatch between initial expectations and what the programme offers, a sense of being overwhelmed and helpless in relation to social reality and change, academically dry and intellectually non stimulating, difficulty in adapting to new and different pedagogical processes and an overall pressure to locate oneself within a large group of students from varied cultural backgrounds. There are personal issues as well, such as career choices; if they are cut out for the social work (that is being taught), family expectations, financial needs, having to make new friends and overall adapting to a new environment with different sets of rules, regulation, culture and lifestyles. The second semester fieldwork is therefore a challenge to the supervisor-supervisee circle, not only to deepen understanding and make meaning but to motivate and open the relationship to new perspectives, ways of looking and an overall intellectually stimulating engagement. It is in such a context that I would prefer to identify the second semester as a period of critical theoretical engagement aimed at relearning. This could be at various levels which includes theoretical, methodological, perspective and attitude/affect. Second Semester: The Period of Relearning.. Arriving at a Method through analysis of Social Reality and usage of Indigenous Methodology- Position, Perspective and Concepts: I have often felt myself wanting and cornered by friends from the discipline of philosophy on questions relating to the epistemic premise of the social work methods. Whether we locate our methods on an idealist episteme, a realist episteme or an intuitionist episteme or are we postmodernly premiseless or even eclectic if such a foundation is theoretically permissible. Aware that foundationalism was a key methodological contribution of
1 2

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai University

philosophers during the enlightenment period that ushered in modernity to challenge the irrational subjective premise of religion, am greatly uneasy when it comes to having to answer questions related to our methodological foundations. What is the epistemic premise of a method such as Casework, or a Group work or Community Organization. It is not difficult to see that a construction of these methods on an idealist premise produces a totally different formulation as compared to basing the construction on a realist premise. To me the methods cannot exist without an epistemic base and any act that negates the same is to fall trap to a conservative project that negates theory in order to promote the status quo principle. Also important within this debate are the questions of ontology or the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with the correct identification of the nature of things, existence, god, life or what are the initial constructs of reality. This demands that we take a long hard look at our social reality and concomitant notions that subsumes it for our final confrontation is with such a reality, not outside of it. Our methods are an organic product of our reality and (definitely) not the other way round. In our hurry to do we have actually borrowed formulations that are incongruous to our reality and problems. The tag of being a profession that has stayed afloat and survived depending on received theories is a truth we cannot deny. While engaging in the dialogue circle (supervisee-supervisor circle) I have felt it important to engage on ontological and epistemological issues. This helps clarify many shady areas about social work. Following this, another core content that needs to be expounded concerns schools of thoughts in social work or various ideological positions. In the diagram below I have tried to draw theoretical boundaries around various ideological perspectives within Indian Social Work. I have also incorporated formulations of Howe (..) and Mullaly (.) in the larger theoretical frame thereby incorporating what is a class, caste and caste class reality. Attempting to clarify theoretical premises I have tried to differentiate perspective such as Tribe Centered Social Work (perspective from within), Dalit Social Work as perspective from below, Women Centered Social Work as a pro women perspective, Structural Social work as pro equality perspective, Radical Social Work as anti oppression perspective and other prevailing perspectives such as Gandhian- perspective from top, Traditional-status quo perspective and Interactionist as a perspective premised on a universal whole that are in-vogue and practice. Each of these perspectives has different understanding, analysis and views of Indian social reality and concomitant social problems. From each of their perspective standpoint they formulate their own strategies, techniques and practice paradigm for Social Work. Discussion with supervisee on various perspective prevailing in Indian Social Work helps clarify ideological locations without being theoretically parochial. The aim is to generate awareness about every single position rather than try convincing supervisee about one single position. However an anti oppressive, anti discriminatory standpoint steadies the process of theoretical unraveling within the dialogue circle. Thompson (1993) contends that anti-discriminatory practice is good practice and defines it as An approach to social work practice which seeks to reduce, undermine or eliminate discrimination and oppression, specifically in terms of challenging sexism, racism, ageism, and disablism... and other forms of discrimination encountered in social work. Antidiscriminatory practice is an attempt to eradicate discrimination from our own practice and challenge it in the practice of others and institutional strictures in which we operate. Process..
Introduction to the philosophy of methodology: the metaphysic-epistemology-axiology axis (as shown in diagram One

Social reality as an outflow of the self (idealist) versus existing social reality independent of self (realist) - the realist and

anti-realist epistemological debate Practical engagement with and through systems, structures, communities, groups and individuals
Reframing, Practicing and refining ones purposeful interaction in Structural Work,

Working through Community,

Working through Groups and working with Individual

The applications of social work research and process oriented organizing / social work administration Introducing Schools of thought in Indian Social Work- clarifying and locating dialogue within an ideological position (as

represented in diagram Two below).

DIAGRAM ONE. Philosophy of Methodology

CORRESPONDENCE theory of truth CONSENSUS theory of truth COHERENCE theory of truth PRAGMATIC Theory of truth

When proposition correspond to a real fact Something that is beyond your belief that makes it true OBJECTIVE

Constructivism: all knowledge is constructed-contingent on convention,

human perception & social experience. Based on inter-subjectivity

Rationalism: knowledge is intuitive, conceptual Differ in TIME, SPACE, and CULTURE (subjective/societal) If your belief is coherent with reality then it is truth (subjective/individual) Something is true when it is useful (subjective) Apriori knowledge is knowledge that is known independently of experience (non-empirical) REALIST World exist outside you/mind MIND INDEPENDENT EXTERNALIST: factors outside of the psychological states of those who gain knowledge Rationalist-reason/idea
INTUITIONIST Direct connection with reality. No mediation of either senses or reason COGNITIVE KNOWLEDGE part of structure of human mind

Empiricism knowledge gained

through experience based on perceptual observations of five senses

Aposteriori knowledge is knowledge that is known by experience (empirical)




Would be able to provide proof and evidence You may be right but still do not know (knowledge) Necessary Condition but not sufficient to claim knowledge

IDEALIST: World exist in your mind IDEATION: INTERNALIST- knowledge-yielding conditions are within the psychological states of those who gain knowledge-Empiricism-sense experience



Propositional Knowledge LOGIC Inductive: acceptance of premise does not make it necessary to accept conclusion Deductive: premises make it necessary to accept the conclusion Probabilistic logic-threshold-Fussy logic

ONTOLOGY Analytical Parts to explain the whole

Answers the questions about EXISTENCE BEING REALITY

Answers the question What SHOULD What OUGHT ETHICS Study of nature, scope, criteria of good & evil

EPISTEMOLOGY Theory of Knowledge How do you know what you know




Answers the question HOW

AESTHETICS Theory of beauty Theory of art Theory of art criticism


COSMOLOGY Synthetic Talk about whole and explain parts


Diagram Two. Schools of Thought in Indian Social Work

IndividualFocus on yCommunitFocus on reStructuonFocus


Radical Social Work Women Centered Social (Raisers of consciousness) Work {Anti Oppression Anti Patriarchy Perspective} {Pro Women Perspective} Tribe Centered Social Work Ethnic sensitive worker {Perspective from within} Structural Social Work [Equality Worker] {Pro Change Perspective} Gandhian Social Work Constructive worker {Perspective from top} Dalit Social Work Anti Caste Worker {Perspective from below}

Focus on Structure Focus on Community

Interactionist Social Work (Seekers after meaning) {Universal perspective}

Traditional Social Work (fixers) {Status quo perspective}

Focus on Individual


note: Howes labels for each grouping are given in brackets 3 and Mullaly R label for Structural Social Workers are given in parentheses4

Society and Self: Restructuring and Reorganizing Organic Structures: The dialogue circle which constitutes of the supervisor-supervisee and supervisee-supervisor relationship is a safe boundary where restructuring and reorganizing of organic structures within supervisee and supervisor cam take place. Social reality and society as the standpoint and the self as a mirror of that reality, one could proceed at bringing congruency and symmetry between belief structures within self and structures operating in the outside reality. I have found that there is always great resistance to this process, however I have always reflected on social works vision and mission on this count. We are a pro poor profession whose singular mission is to struggle for the oppressed, with the oppressed and through the oppressed for social justice, equality and liberty. To me there is no social work outside this frame. Any subversion, diversion or revision of the professions vision and mission is an act of hypocrisy and betrayal of the ideals of the profession. We are against caste, against patriarchy, against the dominance of one class by the other, against the dominance of heterosexuality over homosexuality, against exclusion of disabled, against the discrimination of transsexuals, children, aged, minorities, etc. Every single thought, word and deed of a professional social worker must be measured by its ability to achieve justice, equality and freedom for the oppressed. The emergence of the anti oppressive framework in social work has given the profession a politically articulate frame of analysis and greatly clarified our role. In this regard Carniol (2000) while positing a key element of anti-oppressive practice by linking personal matters and public issues argues that For social workers who engage in anti-oppression practice, there is a strong connection between, on the one hand, providing individual assistance to people belonging to disempowered groups, and, on the other hand, working with social movements connected to these disempowered groups. By linking these two ways of working, social service providers are challenging social services from the ground up. We are reframing private problems as public issues. (p. 115) Furthering this process I have come to realize that one key content in the dialogue circle that should never be compromised is the Constitution of India. Too many times I have taken for granted that we all know about the ideals of our constitution, yet my findings over the years are contrary to the same. Below I have tried to present the conceptual content of the Constitution in the form of a conceptual map. Detail discussion for the same is imperative.

Sources: Whittington and Holland (1985), D.Howe (1987) From Modern Social Work Theory, A Critical Introduction, Malcolm Payne (1991) Fig 2.1 Analysis of Social Work Theories, Mullaly Robert ( ) Structural Social work

Process.. Strengthening and deepening restructured perspective positions Challenging, confronting and restructuring oppressive social structures such as caste, patriarchy, class, age, ableism, sexism within the cultural circle: The importance of critical analysis, linear and atomistic thinking and the possibility of circular and inter-relational thinking Clarifying History of Indian Constitution of power in society: Brief the political domain and structures 1949 PresidentIndianConstituent Assembly signed the Draft (November in Diagram Three): in a survey conducted by the national association of social workers for dalit and tribal empowerment The of the Constitution and its frame (as represented 26th) among post graduate students in their final years of training, it was found that out of a total sample size of 300 students from various colleges of social work, 1949 Constituent Assembly analyzed provisions ofGlance (From 14th Diagram 3. Constitution of India at a the Draft to 26th of November) Source of Law 1948 &1949 Constituent Assembly of India held two meetings (Feb 1948
& Oct 1949 to go through the clauses of the Draft) 1948 Draft Constitution including a range of proposals was formed by the concerned committee 1947 On 29th August, a Drafting Committee, with Dr. Ambedkar as the Chairman, was formed on the basis of the various reports submitted by the previous committees 1947 The next meeting of the Assembly took place on August 14th, for the dominion of India in which the proposal of forming various committees was presented 1947 Changes introduced by the Indian Independence Act, 1946 The members of Constituent Assembly of India met for the first time on December 9 1946 Cabinet Mission came Pakistan proposal 1945 Hitler committed suicide 1945 Mussolini committed suicide 1945 Atom bomb dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945 UN was born 1942 Quit India Movement (Do or Die) 1942 Cripps Mission (Sir Stafford Cripps) 1940 Pakistan Proposal for partition 1939 Second World War 1939 - 1945 1938 & 1939 Subhash Chadra Bose became President of the Indian National Congress 1935 Govt. of India Act 1932 Poona Pact 1932 Third Round Table Conference 1931 GandhiIrwin Pact 1930 Civil Disobedience Movement in the Punjab 1930-1934 1928 Simon Commission came to India 1922 Indias political destiny should be determined by the Indians themselves 1922 Chauri Chaura incident Gorakhapur 1920 Non-cooperation Movement 1919 Montagu-Chelmsford Report and the Government of India Act, 1919 1915 Gandhi came to India 1914 First World War 1911 Shifted capital Delhi 1909 Morley-Minto reforms and the Indian Councils Act, 1909 (Communal System of voting) 1907 Surat split 1906 Formation of Muslim League 1905 Bengal division 1892 Indian Councils Act, 1892 1885 Indian National Congress born 1873 Regulating Act 1861 Indian Councils Act, 1861 1858 Government of India Act, 1858 Constitution (highest body of law) Legislation Precedent (Art 14-Judgement made law) Custom


395 Articles 12 Schedules 94 Amendments (till 2006)

Bonafide-Good Faith Malafide-Bad Faith

The Constitution at a Glance

External Aggression Armed Rebellion Financial Emergency


-Sovereign, Power of Parliament Dissolve -Socialist, (42nd Amendment) President/Governor Rule -Secular, -Democratic, BASIC FEATURES OF CONSTITUTION -Republic (amendment) -Justice, Equality, Liberty & Fraternity Supremacy of the Constitution Rule of Law 1 schedule-States & Union Territory Principle of supremacy of powers 2 Schedule-Provisions relating to President Objectives of Preamble 3 Schedule-Forms of Oaths & Affirmation Right to personal liberty 4 Schedule-Allocation of seats in Council of States Right to Equality 5 Schedule- Provisions as to the admen & control Right to judicial review of SA &STs Directive principles of State policy 6 Schedule- Provisions as to admen of Tribal areas Balance between Fundamental Rights & Directive Principles in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura Federalism Mizoram Principle of free and fair elections 7 Schedule-Union list, Concurrent list & State list Universal adult suffrage 8 Schedule- Languages (22) Parliamentary system of governance 9 Schedule- 284 laws Limitations upon amending power under Art 368 10 Schedule- Provisions as to disqualification on Independence of the judiciary within the four corners of the grounds of defection constitution BASIC STRUCTURE 243G-Power of panchayat(73rd) 11 Schedule- Art OF THE Freedom & dignity of the individual 12 Schedule- Municipalities (74 CONSTITUTION CANNOT BE th) Unity & integrity of the Nation CHANGED Secularism (Bommai Case)

Part I: The Union & its Territory Part II: Citizenship (19.7.48;1.3.47) Part III: Fundamental Rights Paty IV: Directive Principles of State Policy Part IVA: Fundamental Duties Part V: The Union Part VI: The States Part VII: The States in Part B of the First Schedule Part VIII: The Union Territories Part IX: Panchayats Part IXA: Municipalities Part X: The Scheduled & Tribal Areas Part XI: Relations between Union & States Part XII: Finance, property, Contract & Suits Part XIII: Trade, Commerce & intercourse within the territory of India Part XIV: Services under the Union & State Part XIVA: Tribunals Part XV: Elections Part XVI: Special provisions related to certain Classes Part XVII: Official Languages Part XVIII: Emergency Provisions Part XIX- Miscellaneous Part XX: Amendments Part XXI: Temporary, Transitional & Special Provisions Part XXII: Short Titles, Commencement, Authoritative text in Hindi & repeals

Refining Methodologies of Methods (skills): Clarification of methodology in method formulation permits the problematization of what we sometimes take for granted and as given. There is however a need to look at the various facets and premises of a method in totality (i.e., together as a related set) even after the same is formulated. In Part Five of this article I have attempted to clarify this process. How are each method related to each other when seen holistically. What is the relation between casework, groupwork, community organization and social action, etc. Identifying formulations such as hierarchy approach, spectrum approach, organic approach, context approach and Interactionist approach I try to clarify what to me at times present as a very complex issue while engaging in the dialogue circle. To bring symmetry between the method is the challenge. In this context discussion about various aspects related to the thinking (cognitive) process, doing (action) process and being (here and now) process is important. How does one build each of these aspects and the demands thereof to deepen and strengthen knowing allows supervisee-supervisor a less bumpy movement towards clarifying social works key element- the purposeful and conscious use of self in relationship. This is a time consuming process. However even a short excursion to this realm of ideas as an introductory process is helpful. The same should be strengthened in the second year of training. Process.

From clarifying the methodological foundations of social work methods to identification of the methods perspective Identification of perspectives within methods: hierarchy approach, spectrum approach, organic approach, context approach, Interactionist approach The skill based approach through methods Identifying specific skills in relation to context, issues in communities, structures and systems Identifying techniques and formulation of strategies Delineating between Thinking, Doing and Being The Purposeful and conscious use of self in relationships

Attitudinal Change: Student Social workers are new agents of change. The program envisions them as agents of change. Freire often argues that the capacity to learn (should enable us) not only to adapt but above all to transform reality, to intervene in it and recreate it. How do our social work students perceive themselves currently and how they shall perceive themselves in the future depends on how clear they are about the change agent concept. In my experience the change agent concept is a processual issue and it is in the process of becoming that clarity is arrived at. As a notion it is theoretically attractive but I have seen that as much as it is attractive it is also painfully illusive. It is because of this that I have come to hold that we must have tremendous patience while building a forward momentum towards arriving at the change agent in ourselves and in our trainees. Finally as a conclusion to first year fieldwork it is important to not loose sight, stay awake and even remind ourselves at every point in time, (so that we dont blind ourselves by pressures of our multi faceted multiple task demanded from us), to the single fact that what finally drives any process in social work is a personal conviction and commitment to the caused of the oppressed, without which we have no reason to exist. Process. The use of self as an agent of change The ability of self to determine change- its course, dynamic outcome and process Focus on process while not undermining input-output oriented work -Holistic learning versus Tasked centered learning In the context of personal goals-value orientation in the context of personal conviction and commitment to pro-poor perspectives Conclusion The supervisor-supervisee engagement in social work training is an important educational activity. The need for a structurally conscious training in social work education towards relevant social work is imperative. For social work education in India to become efficacious it needs to repositioned its perspective and theoretical base and incorporate methodologies that are congruent to the Indian reality. The formulation must however accept a great degree of difference and complex political heterogeneity that the Indian reality presents. The Indian reality is highly diverse and because it is coupled with rigidly stratified societal structure, it is extremely problematic. Diversity in itself is good but diversity coupled with inequality is lethal. Fieldwork supervision in structural social work training is a challenging task. The task posed is of two processual challenges. One, it must stay theoretically abreast and in symmetry with the latest theoretical formulations in other disciplines such as political science, sociology, economics, information technology, management sciences, medicine, history,

philosophy, law and two, have the inert ability to locate or reposition social work education content within the boundaries of practical politics and governance. Without losing a valued social work capability to be critical of anti people policies and programmes of the State and other non-state institutions, social work programmes must be located within structures of the State as envisioned and espoused in the Constitution of India. Learning is a life-long process for every one. Students joining the social work programme bring with them a tremendous sense of commitment and a will to learn. The role of the supervisor is to tap this potential in students and to engage with them towards deepening their understanding of the complex Indian reality and also strengthening their commitment towards working for structural change. Supervision in social work training has always been an experience that is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. With the emergence and insertion of critical pedagogy in the supervisor-supervisee relationship the engagement has made the learning process politically sophisticated and far more socially relevant.