Social work education aims to train competent professionals to answer the needs of changing populations and society. Education includes theoretical and practical components that offer the frames for social work at different levels of society; personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural. Primarily, multicultural social work focuses on working with populations with diverse ethnic, cultural, and racial identities that often differ from the majority population. Multicultural social work can be seen as a bridge between minority communities and society. This research was implemented using discourse analysis to examine the social services program’s curriculum of one University of Applied Sciences in the Helsinki area. The study analyzed course descriptions and assigned class materials for four courses. Courses that were selected stated in their course descriptions that the content or intended learning outcomes include intercultural competencies through critical reflections of societal changes in multicultural Finland. This study focused on how othering manifests within the course materials and what notions of critical reflections are included in these courses by asking, “How is othering acknowledged in the social services undergraduate program’s assigned class readings?” International and national social work guidelines emphasize the importance of critical reflections on society and self. This research shows that multiculturalism implemented within the curriculum still repeats notions of oppressive Western power dynamics and ignores the comprehensive critical reflections of societal structures and powers and how they impact an individual’s values, which might also manifest in social work through professionals.


Yalda Nafiseh Hamidi

Committee Member

Karen Lybeck

Committee Member

Sarah Epplen

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Gender and Women’s Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright