Anti-Oppressive Practice - Definition and Explanation - The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

Anti-Oppressive Practice – Definition and Explanation

Understanding Anti-Oppressive Practice: Definition, Examples, and Importance

In the sphere of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Anti-Oppressive Practice serves as a foundational principle, driving societal progress towards fairness and equality.


Anti-Oppressive Practice refers to a framework aimed at dismantling systems of oppression and discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and other intersecting identities. It challenges power imbalances and advocates for equity by actively addressing systemic injustices embedded within institutions and society.

Why Anti-Oppressive Practice Matters:

In today’s diverse world, cultivating inclusive environments is paramount. Anti-Oppressive Practice serves as a vital tool in this endeavour, striving to create spaces where all individuals, irrespective of their background, feel valued, respected, and empowered. By acknowledging and tackling privilege and oppression, organisations can nurture a culture of belonging and encourage authentic engagement among their members.


  1. Education: In educational settings, Anti-Oppressive Practice can manifest through inclusive curriculum development. For instance, educators may incorporate diverse perspectives, histories, and experiences into their teaching materials, ensuring that all students see themselves reflected in the learning process. Additionally, fostering open dialogues about privilege and oppression can empower students to become critical thinkers and agents of change.
  2. Workplaces: Within organisations, Anti-Oppressive Practice can be exemplified through equitable hiring practices and policies that promote diversity and inclusion. This may include implementing blind recruitment processes to mitigate bias, establishing mentorship programmes for underrepresented employees, and offering diversity training to foster a culture of awareness and respect.
  3. Community Engagement: In community settings, Anti-Oppressive Practice can involve actively amplifying marginalised voices and advocating for policies that address systemic inequalities. This could entail supporting grassroots initiatives led by marginalised communities, engaging in allyship efforts, and leveraging platforms to raise awareness about social justice issues.


In essence, Anti-Oppressive Practice is not merely a concept but a call to action—a commitment to challenging oppression in all its forms and striving for a more just and equitable society. By embracing this framework and integrating it into our personal and professional lives, we can collectively work towards building a world where diversity is celebrated, equity is upheld, and inclusion is the norm.


Burke, B., & Harrison, P. (1998). Anti-oppressive practice. Social work: Themes, issues and critical debates, 229-239.

Dominelli, L. (2012). Anti-oppressive practice. Gray, M., Midgley, J. and Webb, S. The Sage Handbook of Social Work, 328-340.

Preston-Shoot, M. (1995). Assessing anti-oppressive practice. Social Work Education14(2), 11-29.

Wilson, A., & Beresford, P. (2000). ‘Anti-oppressive practice’: emancipation or appropriation?. British Journal of Social Work30(5), 553-573.

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