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Subversive Action

Extralegal Practices for Social Justice

Edited by Deena mandell & Nilan Yu
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Paperback : 9781771121231, 197 pages, December 2015
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771120869, 197 pages, December 2015
Audiobook : 9781771126014, March 2023

Table of contents

Table of Contents Subversive Action: Extralegal Practices for Social Justice, edited by Nilan Yu and Deena Mandell
Introduction: Introduction and Salt Making | Nilan Yu and Deena Mandell
Chapter 1: Social Justice and Social Work: Convergence and Divergence in the Wake of the Toronto G20 | Deena Mandell and Alex Hundert
Chapter 2: Challenging State Aggression against Indigenous Australians | John Tomlinson
Chapter 3: Politicizing Welfare and Humanizing Politics: Social Workers Opposing Apartheid South Africa's Policies | Thérèse Sacco and Jeanette Schmid
Chapter 4: Social Workers, Resistance and Martial Law in the Philippines: A View from Below | Mary Lou Alcid
Chapter 5: Medha Patkar's Environmental Activism and Professional Social Work: Mass Legitimacy and Myopic Structures | Manohar Pawar and Venkat Pulla
Chapter 6: Challenging State's Authority and Reclaiming Citizenship: Challenging the Eviction and Deportation of Pavement Dwellers in Bombay, India | Purnima George and Ferzana Chaze
Chapter 7: Nonviolent Resistance: The Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil | Wilder Robles
Chapter 8: Subversive Education: Turning Coercive Encounters into Transformative Possibilities | Martha Kuwee Kumsa
Conclusion: Rights, Justice, the Law, and Extralegal Action | Nilan Yu
About the Contributors


Subversive Action presents cases that explore the use of extralegal action undertaken in pursuit of human rights and social justice, and locate that action with reference to the boundaries of social work. Definitions of social work often include goals of social change, social justice, empowerment, and the liberation of people, but social work texts make little mention of extralegal actions. Mainstream conceptions of social work usually consider it to fall within the framework of particular legal and societal contexts. As such, it is presented with boundaries for legitimate action even as it espouses principles that may require it to challenge these boundaries. How does one do social work in legal and societal contexts that challenge these principles with institutional and state-mandated exclusion and discrimination? Should social workers simply act within the bounds of the law in line with their professional sanction and mandate? Do their actions qualify as social work if they are beyond the limits of the law? The essays in this volume, by authors from around the world, raise these questions by providing a basis for reflection about the claims we make in social work embodied in discourses on social justice and human rights.