Home-made Social Work: The Two-way Transfer of Social Work Practice Knowledge between India and the USA
Social work practitioners in developing countries have difficulty in comprehending and applying Western knowledge to their day to day practice (Huang 1978; Nagpaul 1972; Nimmagadda and Balgopal 2000; Nimmagadda and Cowger 1999; Roan 1980). In its survey of social work training in 1971, the United Nations originally used the term ‘Indigenization’ to describe the inappropriateness of Western theories of social work when applied to non-Western and ‘third world’ societies (Midgley 1983, 1992). Since then, the concept has been widely used in relation to issues surrounding technology transfer and the goodness of fit of ‘Western social work knowledge’. Midgley (1983, 1992) questioned the appropriateness between social work roles and the needs of different countries as well as the suitability of social work education to social work practice in non-Western countries. In this chapter, we use the term ‘localization’ to refer to the ‘west to the rest’ approach rather than the term ‘Indigenization’ which frequently appears in the literature.