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Ethnicity and Social Work Practice$
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Carole B. Cox and Paul H. Ephross

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195099317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195099317.001.0001

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Ethnicity and Communities

Ethnicity and Communities

(p.82) 5 Ethnicity and Communities
Ethnicity and Social Work Practice

Carole B. Cox

Paul H. Ephross

Oxford University Press

Ethnicity is a primary characteristic of the environments in which people live, affecting interactions both within and without of the community. The boundaries determining ethnic communities can be rigid, permitting little or restricted interaction with the outside or pliant in that they afford residents easy access to the greater society. Rigid boundaries tend to enforce greater adherence to traditional values and culture than those with more fluid boundaries. In either case, social work seeks to assure that the environments in which people live are nurturing with sufficient resources and supports. Effective community work depends upon social workers' ability to bridge the gap between their perspectives of needs and problems and those of the community members. This necessitates knowing the lens through which people in communities perceive the world. Specific data needed includes: geography and population concentration; community problems, needs and concerns; degree of homogeneity of ethnic group; community resources; values, traditions, and attitudes towards non-members; community leaders; degree of assertion or accommodation; and degree of visible ethnic links.

Keywords:   community, ethnic minority, immigrant, boundaries, data

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