Main Article Content
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.
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