Introduction to Special Issue How Might We Encounter Others Well?

Main Article Content

Allison M. Tan
Morgan E. Braganza


diversity, conflict, social work practice, approaches, models


Social work regulations obligate social workers to attend to issues of diversity, and consider the value of engaging others well. This includes Christian social workers. Despite this, conflict, divisiveness, and polarization are increasing among North Americans. Perhaps because of this reality, a proliferation of different models has emerged to offer social workers strategies for engaging more positively in the presence of contentious differences. This special issue provides examples of the application of three models meant to facilitate more positive encounters: restorative practice, Reflective Structured Dialogue, and Living Room Conversations. It also offers a conceptual framework meant for deconstructing and assessing various models. The collection of articles in this special issue reflects some of the work being done in North American social work practice to foster improved encounters where differences are present and shows that the field is rich with models to help each of us encounter others well.




Abstract 82 |


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

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

Brice, T. (Ed.). (2016). Reconciliation ReConsidered: Advancing the national conversation about race in churches of Christ. Abilene Christian University Press.

Canadian Association of Social Workers. (2005). Guidelines for ethical practice.

Case, J. P. (2019). Around the table: Talking graciously about God. Cascade Books.

Detemple, J. (2020). The spaces we make: Dialogic classrooms and social transformation. Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 35(5), 753-779.

English, K. (2019, October 18). Digital Democracy Project shows Canada is becoming more polarized, less tolerant. Toronto Sun.

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.

Garfinkel, R. (2008). What works? Evaluating interfaith dialogue programs. Diane Publishing.

Goshen-Gottsein, A. (Ed.). (2018). The religious other: Hostility, hospitality, and the hope of human flourishing. Wipf & Stock.

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

Hopkins, B. (Ed.) (2015). Restorative theory in practice: Insights into what works and why. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Kaemingk, M. (2018). Christian hospitality and Muslim immigration in an age of fear. Eerdmans.

Keller, T., & Inazu, J. (2020). Uncommon ground: Living faithfully in a world of difference. Nelson Books.

Lloyd, M., & Nassar, H. M. (2019, October 22). Polarized like never before: Hard work ahead to bring Canada together, expert says. CityNews.

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.
Marin, A. (2016). Us Vs. Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community. NavPress.

Nagda, B.A., Gurin, P., Sorensen, N., & Zuniga, X. (2009). Evaluating intergroup dialogue: Engaging diversity for personal and social responsibility. Diversity and Democracy, (12), 1, 3-6.

National Association of Social Workers. (2021). Highlighted revisions to the Code of Ethics.

New International Version. (2021). BibleGateway.

Schmidt, C. K., Earnest, D. R., & Miles, J. R. (2020). Expanding the reach of intergroup dialogue: A quasi-experimental study of two teaching methods for undergraduate multicultural courses. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13(3), 264–273.

Seibert, E. A. (2018). Disarming the church: Why Christians must forsake violence to follow Jesus and change. Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Shryack, J., Taylor, L., Raps, B., & Blades, J. (2020). Living room conversations: Identity formation and democracy. In E. Sample & D. Irvin-Erickson (eds.). Building peace in America. (pp. 63-74). Rowman & Littlefield.

Wazir, Z. (2021, June 23). People see more social division after pandemic. U.S. News.