This essay is aimed at evaluating Thompson’s PCS model for anti-oppressive practice which is rampant in our society and social institutions in this civilization. Neil Thompson 1997 gave 3 patterns that are essential to analyzing oppressive practices.
The model is regarded as the PCS model which can be examined on 3 levels: P for Personal, C for Cultural and S stands for Structural. All of which are regarded as evils that conscious persons must mitigate against. In evaluating Thompson’s PCS Model of anti-oppressive practice, the PCS model will first be elucidated and examples of instances in which the model could be operated would be given.
For the understanding of this concept of the PCS model, statements and writings by Thompson, Gil, Whitehouse, Dubois and Miley, Phillipson, Henry F., Tator C and others including Blackwell Dalrymple and Burke’s postulations on the PCS, society and other institutions under consideration would be examined.
Personal. The P of the PCS model is concerned with the individual. This is related to the significance of a person’s thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings towards another person. This examines the way personal prejudice, the stereotypes people associate other persons with and the way it influences the relationship with persons which hence enforces social discrimination and oppression.
Further, it should be fundamental that in any institution that connects with the social space; institutions such as the social work, hospitals, schools, and other secular societal institutes, conscious efforts must be made at developing anti-discriminatory ideas and preconceptions in dealing with patients/clients.
At this, critical efforts must be made to ensure the detachment of individual prejudices which could contribute to progressive oppression in such societies with a client/service user. Although the Personal, that is, thoughts, actions, feelings, etc are unique features of the individuals, if these personal traits are prioritized, the profession suffers from a backward culture that influences individual lives.
According to Whitehouse in 1986, the “stereotypical expectations and attitudes (in the duties of a social worker in any profession will lead to tending) to select information to confirm them.” An action that will have enormous implications on the assessment of a patient/client. While a professional portrays traits of discrimination, the patients would be averse to communication and collaboration for medical/social assistance and this will maintain the oppression of such persons from every angle.
Personal is the centre of any human. This is because of its striking significance in influencing a person’s belief, thought and actions which either affect the society or influence a positive change.
The C of the PCS Model relates to the collective values and regulations of a particular set of people. This is the cultural level in which humans represent the society they’ve originated from. By this, the influence of culture greatly constructs and informs people’s beliefs about the outside world.
In other words, Berger writes that “society does not only control our movements but shapes our identity, our thoughts, and our emotions.” In this, he emphasizes that the order and the structure of any distinct culture from any distinct society subconsciously identify with people hence, shape their consciousness.
However, people must be wary of the fact that their culture can exert a powerful influence on the discriminatory tendencies they could wield. That is, with cultural consciousness, people (and especially in the professional social relations field) must prevent their culture, norms and distinct behaviour from intervening in their relationships with other persons, clients or patients.
Sometimes, professionals make jokes which could be classified as discriminatory humour. Although this may be lighthearted as the professional attempts to ease tensions, this could be offensive to the receptor which then contributes to the deterioration of the patient’s self-esteem and lag in trust which will affect communication.
It should be noted that cultural values stem from collective resolutions on what is right or wrong, as well as what is good or bad. These beliefs can influence inter-personal relationships while dealing with patients or clients in social spaces.
The S of the PCS model analyzes the extent to which oppression has become institutionalized. Thompson writes that oppression has been ‘sewn into the fabric’ of the society which then supports cultural perception and individual biases towards a particular ‘anomaly.’
The Structural model involves religion, culture and other institutions established which has been a tool for the public exercise of discrimination. This doesn’t exempt the media and other outlets which could be nongovernmental and governmental.
With these structures, the impact of discrimination extends to marginalizing a wide range of minorities who are underrepresented. It should be noted here that discrimination doesn’t end at merely recognizing differences, it extends to capitalizing on differences and making negative remarks on the differences. Such remarks and tags are a proud way to ensure the oppression of these persons progresses.
Hence, persons working in fields with importance to social relations should develop a strong anti-oppression practice based on the understanding of the many concepts that marginalized patients/clients exist.
Oppression could be exerted on different kinds of persons based on race, which is a social system that permits a race over another race which is not only seen as inferior but as unfit for existence in human society.
Oppression which is a very powerful force can also be applied based on sex. That is, domesticating a woman, asserting children’s welfare and guidance as a sole responsibility exclusive to the husband.
Oppression can also be manifested against sexually conscious persons; homosexuals. It could apply to disabled persons or old ones.
It covers a wide spectrum of persons who are underrepresented in society because the need for representation has been demarcated by Structures, nurtured by Cultures and observed by persons with Individual Personal biases.
Note that oppression is a strong tool for the de-molarization of these persons who are already denied human rights through pre-existing biases based on what person they are. Professionals across the social work field should be very conscious of their language via verbal, gestures or symbols. This is because there are tendencies to undervalue an oppressed group of people who seek assistance.
The importance of the PCS Model is to shape the mentality of the public (especially professionals across social works, hospitals, civil service, even schools) by drawing attention to oppressive actions and structures, hence, mitigating against the attachment of the personal into the professional sphere.
Everyone should exist with regard to the PCS Model which ensures the understanding of marginalized persons through communication and trust. More so, public sensitization training must hold so that people, at the P level, identify their personal biases and at the Cultural level, identify and ensure actions towards disapproving of oppressive cultures. This will inform, hence, influence the Structural level of the PCS Model which has plagued the society with this level of social discrimination and oppression to date.