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  • Author or Editor: Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö x
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“Earlier, not much care was taken about the local society. Now that awareness is there.” This claim was made in an interview with the managing director of a large-scale iron mine in eastern India in January 2015, when he reflected back on his long experience in the Indian mining industry. While the claim encapsulates a long-term corporate trend, in India corporate involvement in community-level matters remains an issue of constant debate, even suspicion. Can corporate and community interests be complementary, and if so, to what extent, especially in cases where the corporate activity has negatively affected the health and well-being of local people? Whose interests are actually at stake – who, locally, is ‘the’ company, who passes as ‘the’ local people, and whose interests do not count? How do the mining companies implement their community development programmes under corporate social responsibility (CSR), and how participatory are these programmes? Should social and community workers engage with corporations to get resources, such as funding and other assets for the actual work with people, and what kind of risks or compromises might that entail?

In this chapter, we discuss these dilemmas in the context of the mining area of the eastern Sundergarh District in the state of Odisha in eastern India. In spite of its context specificity, our case connects with universal themes regarding extractive industries, CSR, and community work and development. These include the deterioration of the local ecosystems and ecosystems-based livelihoods in regions of resource extraction, growing disparities and uneven power positions between those who benefit from extractive industries and those who do not, complexities of CSR in a multi-ethnic and hierarchical society, and the subordination of ‘extractive peripheries’ to broader political and economic structures and tendencies.

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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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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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