IE As a Political Activist Approach in Chinese Culture

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Frank WANG, Graduate Institute of Social Work, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
I was a social worker involving in social activism at a time of rapid political transition in Taiwan. As a non-English speaking Ph.D. student in U. of Toronto, I found my experience was silent in my study which was overwhelmed by social theories. Learning institutional ethnography with Dorothy Smith, my voice was validated as the starting point of research. IE gave me the academic tool to integrate my roles as a critical social worker and an academic. “Writing your disjuncture experience as a social worker” becomes a regular exercise in my class to give voices to front-line workers. I use IE to develop critical consciousness among social work students. I re-designed the course on social policy analysis based on IE as I believe social workers need to analyze policies from the standpoint of social workers, rather than to familiarize themselves into social policies from the ruling relations.

I explored how family ideology in long term care regulates the practices of home care in my Ph.D. study. After my return to Taiwan, I continued to be involved in social activism in the field of long term care for family care givers and indigenous people. Over the past twenty years, I began to realize that I am witnessing the transformation of state power from an authoritarian state to neo-liberal state. The privatization in social welfare is incorporating social work profession and NGOs into the ruling relations of neo-liberalism.

As more and more Taiwanese scholars are adopting IE in their research, a study group of fifteen academics has been organized to share their work on IE. We reflect on the issues of translation, Chinese culture on relations (Kuanxi), development of civil society, and theorization of resistance in IE, which I will summarize in my presentation.