Title

Middle Class Social Workersand their Perceptions of Class Barriers

Authors

Molly Banks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

The profession of social work prides itself on being value neutral and non-judgmental. However, social workers might impose their values upon their clients if they are not aware of their own biases. Ideologies and values stemming from one?s socioeconomic class may serve as significant barriers between the social worker and the client. Consequently, it would seem essential for a social worker recognize any socioeconomic class contrast between themselves and their clients. The failure to acknowledge the significance of class might cause them to impose their middle class values upon their clients. To gauge the validity of this concept, I did an extensive literature review of sociological articles, studies, and books; I interviewed ten social workers; and I completed an analysis of my findings. The objective of the interviews is to understand the social workers? perceptions of socioeconomic class, inter-class relationships, and lower-class clients. The findings indicate that the social workers recognize a class difference between themselves and their clients. Additionally, this study found that the social workers did not find themselves as imposing onto their clients. There may be unintentional bias towards their clients, but more research is needed.

Advisor

J. Lin

Department

sociology

Support

The Lilly Endowment Project

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