Intercultural Competencies as a Means to Manage Intercultural Interactions in Social Work

Jonas Stier (1)
(1) School of Social Sciences, Mälardalen University, Sweden, Sweden


In the last century Swedish society has become increasingly globalized and multicultural. Today about 20 per cent of the country’s population of 9 million people is of foreign decent. Recently questions of immigration, integration policies and multiculturalism have received much political attention. This fact, in the unmerciful light of a deconstruction of the welfare state coming to terms with these issues, constitutes an enormous challenge to the public sector as a whole. And for single social workers this requires somewhat new sorts of professional competencies – where intercultural competencies appear among the most important.
Drawing from the inherent paradoxes and cultural dimensions of social work, the article singles out and discusses several qualities of intercultural competencies that seem useful for social workers. These are referred to as content-competencies and process-competencies. It is concluded that intercultural competencies are preconditions for successful social work in the future.

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Jonas Stier (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Jonas Stier, School of Social Sciences, Mälardalen University, Sweden

Jonas Stier is a senior lecturer in sociology at the School of Social Sciences at Mälardalen University in Sweden where he teaches sociology, intercultural studies and intercultural communication. His primary research areas are intercultural interaction, interculturality, identity and the internationalization of higher education.

Stier, J. (2004). Intercultural Competencies as a Means to Manage Intercultural Interactions in Social Work. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 4(1), 1–07.

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