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This chapter explores the notion of transcultural psychiatry in Finland through an experiential lens through the personal observations of the first author, who describes her encounters navigating Whiteness and White supremacy structures as a racialised professional working in Finnish mental health services. It argues that transcultural mental health (also known as ethnopsychiatry) perpetuates colonialism by othering, incarcerating, controlling and medicalising racialised bodies that come into contact with these kinds of services. The chapter presents a brief overview of the historical development of ethnopsychiatry and transcultural mental health, and explores the effects of structural racism and microaggression when unleashed on racialised bodies and how that leads to epistemic injustice.

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This chapter is written as a collaboration between two doctoral students of colour and their White supervisor through the method of testimonio to broaden the perspective on who gets to participate in the conversations to enhance epistemic justice. It explores how emerging social work scholars of colour in the Finnish academy critically consider their own identities and the role of intersectionality in their research in relation to their research participants. The concepts of epistemic injustice and intersectionality are used to show how systemic silencing and exclusion rooted in the dominant power structures form the basis of ways of research, practice and knowledge production. Challenging the epistemic injustice and intersectional disadvantages that are pervasive in Finnish social work is key to decolonising social work knowledge and practice.

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The chapters in this book identify the long-term impact of coloniality extant in Finnish social work practices and to envision how diverse practices might move us towards deeply needed decolonised futures. This book is constructed in three parts. The first part, ‘Exploring coloniality in the Finnish social work field’, outlines the structures, policies and practices that constitute coloniality in Finnish social work. The second part, ‘Naming and confronting epistemic and structural injustice’, presents racialised voices that often go unheard about the barriers they face in Finnish society as students and practitioners. Finally, the third part, ‘Reimagining caring and social work futurities’, opens up diverse approaches to co-creating and envisioning decolonising social work education, practices and ways of thinking. The book contributes to the discussion on the ongoing legacy of colonialism and racialisation in the Finnish welfare state.

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The conclusion to the edited volume, Decolonising Social Work in Finland: Racialisation and Practices of Care, identifies the main themes in the book. The book examines how colonial structures, systems, knowledge and ways of being still influence society and social work practices in Finland. In pointing out the myriad ways that asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants inhabit precarious circumstances amid welfare state nationalism and homonationalism, the authors call for a more emancipatory Finnish social work praxis. It argues that decoloniality is not a vague futurism, but rather a practice that requires practitioners to imagine and design pathways for learning, engaging, revising and responding to the everyday ways that colonial ideology is rooted in systems of welfare.

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The chapters in this book identify the long-term impact of coloniality extant in Finnish social work practices and to envision how diverse practices might move us towards deeply needed decolonised futures. This book is constructed in three parts. The first part, ‘Exploring coloniality in the Finnish social work field’, outlines the structures, policies and practices that constitute coloniality in Finnish social work. The second part, ‘Naming and confronting epistemic and structural injustice’, presents racialised voices that often go unheard about the barriers they face in Finnish society as students and practitioners. Finally, the third part, ‘Reimagining caring and social work futurities’, opens up diverse approaches to co-creating and envisioning decolonising social work education, practices and ways of thinking. The book contributes to the discussion on the ongoing legacy of colonialism and racialisation in the Finnish welfare state.

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The chapters in this book identify the long-term impact of coloniality extant in Finnish social work practices and to envision how diverse practices might move us towards deeply needed decolonised futures. This book is constructed in three parts. The first part, ‘Exploring coloniality in the Finnish social work field’, outlines the structures, policies and practices that constitute coloniality in Finnish social work. The second part, ‘Naming and confronting epistemic and structural injustice’, presents racialised voices that often go unheard about the barriers they face in Finnish society as students and practitioners. Finally, the third part, ‘Reimagining caring and social work futurities’, opens up diverse approaches to co-creating and envisioning decolonising social work education, practices and ways of thinking. The book contributes to the discussion on the ongoing legacy of colonialism and racialisation in the Finnish welfare state.

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Racialisation and Practices of Care

This book examines the contemporary social care realities and practices of Finland, a small nation with a history enmeshed in social relations as both colonizer and colonized. Decolonising Social Work in Finland:

• Interrogates coloniality, racialization and diversity in the context of Finnish social work and social care.

• Brings together racialized and mainstream white Finnish researchers, activists, and community members to challenge relations of epistemic violence on racialized populations in Finland.

• Critically unpacks colonial views of care and wellbeing.

It will be essential reading for international scholars and students in the fields of Social Work, Sociology, Indigenous Studies, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Education.

Introduction and Chapter 10 available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

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Three academics moving and living in Nordic countries and the West Coast of the US explore practices of city walking as a means of challenging colonial public archives. City walks from Gothenburg, Sweden and Fresno, California, are scrutinised as examples of decolonial social work pedagogy that build on Yoon-Ramirez’s (2021) notion of sensory and experiential learning as well as Sharp’s (2016) concept of ‘wake work’. The practice of wake work, which entails counter-archiving, is a decolonial pedagogy that challenges and attempts to rupture the colonial narratives and spatial mappings that erase specific communities’ histories and contributions to our collective spaces. By moving collectively through city space and counter-archiving public art, monuments and various geographic locations through dialogues, we aimed to make visible the everyday salience of colonial history in these city spaces.

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This introduction to the edited volume, Decolonising Social Work in Finland: Racialisation and Practices of Care, coalesces a transnational community of social workers, educators, advocates and scholars to identify the long-term impact of coloniality extant in Finnish social work practices and to envision how diverse practices might move us towards deeply needed decolonised futures. This introduction discusses Finnish social work in the context of coloniality and futurism.

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