Orientalist Social Work: Cultural otherization of Muslim Immigrants in Sweden

Barzoo Eliassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This aim of this article is to critically examine how the concept of culture is used in Sweden to explain the “failure” or the difficulties that Muslim immigrant families are experiencing with regards to their integration into the dominant society. Whereas, the Swedish society is often represented as ‘modern’, ‘progressive’, and ‘democratic’, immigrants with Muslim backgrounds are predominately described as ‘traditional’, ‘authoritarian’ and ‘pre-modern’. There is a widely held idea within Swedish social work research that immigrant families and the white mainstream Swedish society are situated within two different value systems with different world-views regarding family and gender relations. Due to this entrenched binary opposition, Orientalism becomes constitutive to social work research and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
JournalCritical Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Social Sciences

Free keywords

  • Culture
  • Orientalism
  • otherization
  • immigration
  • integration
  • anti-racist social work
  • Sweden


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