Introducing a Conceptual Framework for Assessing Existing Models, Frameworks, and Approaches for Navigating Encounters Across Difficult Differences

Main Article Content

Morgan E. Braganza


diversity, social relations, conceptual framework, approach, assess


Despite the Biblical account that God purposely created people to be different, multidisciplinary research suggests that people tend to struggle to positively encounter those who hold difficult, disagreeable, or contentious differences. Social work professionals have turned to a variety of frameworks, models, and approaches for pragmatic or paradigmatic recommendations for improving difficult encounters. However, there is not a vehicle for assessing these frameworks or to consider how they might positively or negatively influence encounters. Consequently, this paper proposes a new conceptual framework meant to assess and deconstruct existing frameworks. This article describes the Encountering Contentious Differences Conceptual Framework including an overview of its five sensitizing concepts. Illustrations are provided for how to utilize this Conceptual Framework in practice by applying it to three existing frameworks: the anti-oppressive practice/Intergroup Dialogue, inclusion/exclusion, and Christian hospitality frameworks. This article concludes with implications of the Conceptual Framework for social work practice, education, and research.

Abstract 80 |


Allport, G. W. (1979). The nature of prejudice: Unabridged 25th anniversary edition. Perseus Books.

Alvesson, M., & Skoldberg, K. (2009). Reflexive methodology: New vistas for qualitative research (2nd ed.). Sage.

Boys, M. C., & Alexander, S. C. (2012). Christian hospitality and pastoral practices from a Roman Catholic perspective. Theological Education, 47(1), 47-73.

Braganza, M. E. (2018). Introducing a hospitality framework to encounter diverse others in professional social work. Social Work and Christianity, 45(2), 33-56.

Braganza, M. E. (2020). Improving encounters with people who hold contentious differences: An exploration. [Unpublished Doctoral dissertation, Wilfrid Laurier University].

Brandner, T. (2013). Hosts and guests: Hospitality as an emerging paradigm in mission. International Review of Mission, 102(1), 94-102.

Canadian Association of Social Workers. (2005). Code of ethics. https://www.casw-

Carroll, M. (2011). A biblical approach to hospitality. Review & Expositor, 108(4), 519-526.

Cornille, C. (2011). Interreligious hospitality and its limits. In R. Kearney & J. Taylor (Eds.), Hosting the stranger: Between religions (pp. 35-43). The Continuum International Publishing Group.

Daly, K. (2016). What is restorative justice? Fresh answers to a vexed question. Victims & Offenders, 11(1), 9-29.

de Béthune, P.-F. (2007). Interreligious dialogue and sacred hospitality. Religion East & West, 7, 1-22.

Dessel, A., Rogge, M. E., & Garlington, S. B. (2006). Using intergroup dialogue to promote social justice and change. Social Work, 51(4), 303-315.

Dessel, A. (2010). Prejudice in schools: Promotion of an inclusive culture and climate. Education and Urban Society, 42(4), 407–429.

Dessel, A., & Ali, N. (2015). Social justice education through intergroup dialogue: Purpose and pedagogy. Workshop offered at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario,Canada.

Dessel, A., Bolen, R., & Shepardson, C. (2011). Can religious expression and sexual orientation affirmation coexist in social work? A critique of Hodge's theoretical, theological, and conceptual frameworks. Journal of Social Work Education, 47(2), 213-234.

Dominelli, L. (1996). Deprofessionalizing social work: Anti-oppressive practice, competencies and postmodernism. The British Journal of Social Work, 26(2), 153-175.

FitzGerald, K. K. (2011). Hospitality: Keeping a place for the “other”. Greek Orthodox Theological Review, 56(1-4), 161-177. 1581311102_the_greek_orthodox_theological_review

Frambach, N. C. P. (2011). Practice of Evangelical listening and speaking the faith to others. Currents in Theology and Mission, 38(5), 358-361.

Frantell, K. A., Miles, J. R., & Ruwe, A. M. (2019). Intergroup dialogue: A review of recent empirical research and its implications for research and practice. Small Group Research, 50(5), 654-695.

Goffman, E. (1956). Embarrassment and social organization. American Journal of Sociology, 62(3), 264-271.

Gower, K., Cornelius, L., Rawls, R., & Walker, B. B. (2020). Reflective structured dialogue: A qualitative thematic analysis. Conflict Resolution
Quarterly, 37(3), 207-221.

Hick, S. F. (2002). Introduction to anti-oppressive practice: Challenges for social work. Social Work, 3(1),1-5.

Jabareen, Y. (2009). Building a conceptual framework: Philosophy, definitions, and procedure. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(4), 49-62.

Labonté, R., Hadi, A., & Kauffmann, X. E. (2011). Indicators of social exclusion and inclusion: A critical and comparative analysis of the literature. É/Exchange Working Paper Series, 2(8), 1-138.

Mansfield, K. C., & Jean-Marie, G. (2015). Courageous conversations about race, class, and gender: Voices and lessons from the field. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 28(7), 819-841.

Mathieson, J., Popay, J., Enoch, E., Escorel, S., Hernandez, M., Johnston, H., & Rispel, L. (2008). Social exclusion meaning, measurement and experience and links to health inequalities: A review of literature.

McLaughlin, K. (2005). From ridicule to institutionalization: Anti-oppression, the state and social work. Critical Social Policy, 25(3), 283–305.

Morris, K., Barnes, M., & Balloch, S. (2009). Social exclusion and social work: Questions for the future. Social Work Education, 28(3), 230–236.

Mosher, L. (2011). Walking deliberately into difference: A theology of enabling interreligious understanding. Anglican Theological Review, 93(4), 637-644.

Nagda, B. (2006). Breaking barriers, crossing borders, building bridges: Communication processes in intergroup dialogues. Journal of Social Issues, 62, 553–576.

Nagda, B. A., Spearmon, M. L., Holley, L. C., Harding, S., Balassone, M. L., Moïse-Swanson, D., & de Mello, S. (1999). Intergroup dialogues: An innovative approach to teaching about diversity and justice in social work programs. Journal of Social Work Education, 35(3), 433-449.

National Association of Social Workers. (2021). Read the code of ethics.

Nilsen, P. (2015). Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks. Implementation Science, 10(53), 1-13.

Ostrom, E., Cox, M., & Schlager, E. (2014). An assessment of the institutional analysis and development framework and introduction of the social-ecological systems framework. In P. A. Sabatier & C. M. Weible (Eds.), Theories of the policy process (3rd ed.). (pp. 267- 306). Westview Press.

Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). Sage.

Peace, R. (2001). Social exclusion: A concept in need of definition? Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 16, 17-36.

Pohl, C. D. (2012). Our life together: Four practices of healthy congregations. The Christian Century, 129(5), 22-25.

Public Religion Research Institute. (2021). The 2020 census of American religion.

Schoem, D. (2003). Intergroup dialogue for a just and diverse democracy. Sociological Inquiry, 73(2), 212-227. https:// doi:10.1111/1475-682X.00053

Sheppard, M. (2006) Social work and social exclusion: The idea of practice. Ashgate.

Statistics Canada. (2013). Immigration and ethnocultural diversity in Canada: National Household Survey, 2011. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011001.

Statistics Canada. (2016). Same-sexed couples and sexual the numbers.

Stephan, W. G., & Stephan, C. W. (2001). Improving intergroup relations. Sage.

Sykes, S. W. (2014). Making room for the other: Hostility and hospitality from a Christian perspective. In A. Goshen-Gottstein (Ed.), The religious other: Hostility, hospitality, and the hope of human flourishing (pp. 53-68). Lexington Books.

Taket, A., Crisp, B. R., Nevill, A., Lamaro, G., Graham, M., & Barter-Godfrey, S. (Eds.). (2009). Theorising social exclusion. Routledge.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2019). Characteristics of same-sex couple households: 2005 to present.

Werkmeister Rozas, L. (2007). Engaging dialogue in our diverse social work student body: A multilevel theoretical process model. Journal of Social Work Education, 43(1), 5-29.

Wilson, A., & Beresford, P. (2000). ‘Anti-oppressive practice’: Emancipation or appropriation? British Journal of Social Work, 30(5), 553-573.

Zúñiga, X., Nagda, B. R. A., & Sevig, T. D. (2002). Intergroup dialogues: An educational model for cultivating engagement across differences. Equity &Excellence in Education, 35(1), 7-17.