Application of sociocultural anthropology for employing multicultural dimension in social policy and social work studies in Lithuania

Vytis Čiubrinskas

Abstract


By arguing for the multicultural dimension to be employed in social policy as well as in social work studies in Lithuania, the article aims at explicit display of arguments for the anthropological perspective and anthropology itself to be applied for the implementation of that dimension. The article discusses applicability of such anthropological essential as sensitiveness to human nature. Conceptualized as analytical perspective of cultural relativism it enables “opening up and voicing” cultures and heritages of the most overlooked and marginalized social groups. Another key point of the discipline is to study people’s lives from “their point of view”. Such emic approach and prevailing usage of the field research methods enables the most vulnerable groups “to be heard” and it could become critical in particular in solving problems of misrepresentation of those groups. It is also stressed in conclusion that the best use of anthropology in multiculturalism-enhanced social work is its fieldwork-oriented methodology. So it could be the most instrumental as applied science, i.e. by monitoring social mobility, integration/segregation, acculturation processes and conflict situations of subaltern, migrant and minority groups as well as by being able to provide counseling, reconciliation and to develop multidimensional tolerance by using particular culture informed knowledge as well as skills of intercultural dialog.

Keywords


anthropology (sociocultural); multiculturalism; vulnerable groups; marginal groups; minorities; social policy; social work

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789