This paper examines how service users and carers can contribute to social work education in a post conflict society. A small-scale study undertaken in Northern Ireland is used as a case study to show how such citizens can potentially critically contribute to social work students’ understanding of the impact of conflict on individuals, groups and communities. The need to appreciate the effects of such community division is now a core knowledge requirement of the social work curriculum in Northern Ireland. The article reports on research findings with service users, carers and agency representatives which points to ways in which social work students can achieve a critical understanding of the impact of conflict. Northern Ireland, in this way, is presented as a divided society, still in a state of adjustment and evolution, following a period of protracted community strife and violence. The author suggests that individuals who have been directly affected by conflict can contribute in an informed and critical way to social work students’ developing knowledge and experience in an important area of their professional competence and understanding of anti-oppressive practice more broadly.
Service user; Carer; Post conflict; Social work education; Citizen