At the Heart of Social Justice: Using Scholarly Personal Narrative to Explore the Role of Spirituality in My Pursuit for Social Justice

  • Tiffany Talen University of Calgary - Graduate Student
Keywords: spirituality, social work, social justice, social work education, social work practice


“What motivates your pursuit for social justice?” This question had been posed by a professor of one of the author’s social work classes. The difficulty the author faced in answering the question led her on a journey to deconstruct the personal motives behind her passion for social justice. In this paper, the author uses personal narrative to share this journey. She first offers reflections on her early moments of awareness of social injustice and explores the extent to which these experiences motivate her desire for social change. She then wrestles with her inability to understand her motives when using dominant, scientific, and highly individualized explanations. Next, she explores the motivating forces of interconnectedness, compassion, and love, and she explores the relationship between spirituality, social work, and social justice. The author explains how she has come to understand the important role of spirituality within her personal social work identity and suggests implications for social work education and practice.