Caution Regarding Righteous Absolutes: Relational Ethics and Social Welfare Intervention in the Pacific Nations

By Lester J. Thompson.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 5, 2016 $US5.00

Welfare practitioners are increasingly expected to engage with ethno-sensitive practice approaches. Increasing diversity makes their ethical application complex with subsequent challenges when interpreting and assisting other lives. Although contemporary family helping has depended upon generic capabilities for dealing with absolute rights, ethical practice must now be based on wisdom about culturally determined needs. When professional values favor absolutist positions on helping, insensitivities result and there is need for analysis. A relationist critique is applicable when popular absolutist views about child rights in the Pacific confound personal needs. This case expands ideas about professional ethics in cross-cultural practice, positing that such practices must look broadly at the diversity of cultural activities for their protective and satisfying antecedents. From Melanesian cultural examples, ethics are enlightened by a better understanding of relationships. A relationist approach is applied to critical reflection regarding professional ethics and ethical practice.

Keywords: Ethics, Actor-Network, Social Work, Curriculum, Philosophy

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 16, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 816.794KB)).

Dr. Lester J. Thompson

Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Social Science, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia