Practicing social work through fiction-writing and journalism: Stories from Vietnam

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In this article, I will address these theoretical and practical questions by reflecting on my experiences as a social work scholar in Vietnam. Vietnamese society is not yet familiar with social work concepts but is quite receptive to literature and mass media, so I have used creative writing (fiction and journalism) to promote social work values and missions in Vietnam. Specifically, I will discuss how I stumbled into social work, intuitively realized that creative writing is a powerful means to promote social change and social justice in Vietnam; and proactively use creative writing as a forum to practice social work. Placed in a larger context, my story reflects the journeys of many social work scholars and practitioners in Vietnam: they have been "practicing" social work in many ways that are not typical; in fact, only a small part of what they do resembles professional social work practice in Western countries. In telling my story, I will also address some conceptual issues in 21st-century social work including the role of arts, literature, and media in social work, the necessity of social workers to proactively utilize the power of discursive forms in promoting social work values, and developing culturally responsive social work practices in a time of globalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-116
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


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