SOSV3220 Social Work in a Global Context Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Social Work in a Global Context
Bachelorstudium i barnevern
Bachelorstudium i sosialt arbeid
10 stp.


The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of the historical and contemporary context in which social work has been developed and is practised. The course will critically consider the Western, power-based knowledge and theoretical perspectives that inform and are reinforced in social work, and the influence this has globally. This will be considered through focus on decolonial history, intersectional perspectives and globalisation processes.

The course will also focus on how social work has been developed within specific contexts of practice. We will demonstrate how theory is connected to practice within social work. We use a case-based approach in which we explore social work, as practised in Norway and other countries, to demonstrate the importance of contextualisation as a framework for understanding social work theories and practice. Through an investigation of cases, we will also explore the ways in which practice reaffirms certain theories as ‘normal’ and ‘natural’.


The student must have passed all exams in the first and second year of the programme.



The student has knowledge of

  • the ways in which perspectives in social work are shaped within specific social and normative contexts and how the field of social work also shapes our understandings of the contexts within which we practice
  • the history and development of social work and its influence on contemporary understandings of social work globally
  • hegemonic knowledge production in social work, contemporary social problems, social inequalities and systems of oppression for social work in an international context


The student can

  • identify different perspectives and apply knowledge about how these perspectives are shaped within specific contexts
  • critically reflect on how specific conceptualisations shape social work understandings, how context-based and power-based perspectives shape social work practice and how social work practices reinforce these perspectives
  • understand how context is key to understanding how social work practice and services are developed and delivered, with reference to values, ethics and anti-oppressive practice

General competence

The student can

  • identify and communicate knowledge concerning different, global perspectives on key issues taken up in the field of social work
  • exchange knowledge about how dominant norms within social work function to set the premises for models applied and for the meaning this has at the social and individual levels

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

The course is based on lectures, class exercises, homework assignments and assigned literature. Students are expected to read the course literature and to actively participate in the course meetings, with an emphasis on dialogue.

If no students from abroad are registered for the course, teaching and discussions will alternate between Norwegian and English, as appropriate.

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The following coursework requirement must have been approved in order for the student to take the exam:

1. Describe a theme and research question within the area of global perspectives on social work. The research question must be justified. List recommended sources that may be relevant for further work on the research question. This work requirement is the starting point for the individual written submission assignment which is the final exam for the course (see the course plan). Length: up to one page.

The goal of the assignment is to increase knowledge about social work from a global perspective and to apply theory/analytical perspectives to address a self-selected research question.

The coursework requirement must be completed and approved by the given deadline in order for the student to take the exam. If the coursework requirement is not approved, the student will be given the opportunity to resubmit an improved version one more time within the specified deadline.

Vurdering og eksamen

Individual written assignment with self-selected topic. The assignment can be written in either English or Norwegian. The student works on the assignment throughout the course. The assignment should be 8-10 pages long, not including references. Approved APA referencing style for assignment writing must be followed. Font and font size: Calibri 12 points. Line spacing: 1.5.

A selection of self-chosen readings, which comprises of 100 pages must be attached in the assignment.

Students with valid absences or who do not pass the exam have the right to a new/deferred exam, which has the same format as the regular exam. If the exam is not passed, the student will have one opportunity to submit a revised version of the assignment for grading.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All aids are permitted, as long as the rules for source referencing are complied with.


Grade scale A-F.


All exam papers are assessed by one internal and one external examiner.


Erika Gubrium and Ariana Guilherme Fernandes