Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Roy Cain




This study aims to illuminate the ways that gender, race, and class are experienced and socially constructed on interdisciplinary health teams. The study involves four in-depth qualitative interviews with social workers who are employed members of interdisciplinary health teams within a medium sized city in south-western Ontario. The study documents three levels of inquiry. Initially, it explores social workers' understandings of how gender, race, and class affect interdisciplinary team dynamics. Next, a discourse analysis ofthe interviewees' accounts reveals how some conceptualizations of gender, race, and class are potentially limiting and at times reinforces the status quo. Lastly, it traces invisible relations of domination and subordination conveyed through the social organization of knowledge around interdisciplinary teams.

The study offers insight into the ways that interdisciplinary health teams are thought to both promote and undermine cultural competency initiatives. It also reveals how gender, race, and class issues on interdisciplinary teams are conceptualized in ways that preserve the status quo. However, the study challenges the notion that education and exposure to difference and diversity alone will foster cultural competency skills. The study concludes that both cognitive and material shifts in power are necessary in order to achieve an effective redistribution ofpower within interdisciplinary teams.

McMaster University Library

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