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Abstract

In this article the author critiques Irish social care by presenting an equality perspective on practice. An equality perspective involves developing emancipatory practices, that is, ways of helping that provide egalitarian solutions and outcomes. Although emancipatory values are often contrasted with traditional social care values, the author seeks a pragmatic and integrated approach to emancipatory practices rather than a restatement of traditional dichotomies. Emancipatory practice begins with an appreciation of the nature and relevance of inequalities on the lives of diverse social care users. Building a commitment to equality within social care education and practice is an important step in altering many individual and institutional social care practices by focussing on equality processes and outcomes as central social care objectives. Using a well credited framework that outlines five dimensions of inequality (Baker, Lynch, Cantillon and Walsh, 2004), the author argues that social care educators and practitioners need to debate the issues raised and develop emancipatory practices.

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