A New History of Social Work : Values and Practice in the Struggle for Social Justice book cover
1st Edition

A New History of Social Work
Values and Practice in the Struggle for Social Justice

ISBN 9780367110055
Published September 10, 2021 by Routledge
230 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides an overview of the main developments in social work over its 200-year history. From its beginnings in the early 19th century through to the present day, it recounts the efforts to create a fairer, socially just society through its work with individuals and families.

Throughout, by focusing on individual cases as well as major ideas behind practice, this book invites the reader to step into the practitioner’s world as it unfolded. Providing a fresh, critical history of social work in Britain, the book covers the practical assistance for families and individuals in poverty in the 19th century; women’s social work with destitute mothers and children; social work’s response to war time needs; the development of specific domains of social work such as hospital social work, psychiatric social workers, moral welfare and children in care; tackling racism; and social work in a market society. The reader encounters the society that social workers and their users wrote about, thought about and sought to create. Covering critical points of dispute along with overarching visions that would take the profession – and society – forward, the book explores the ideologies, moral constructs and social forces that shaped everyday social work.

A New History of Social Work will be of interest to all scholars and students of social work and will be particularly relevant for modules on introductions to social work and the foundations of social work.

Table of Contents


1. Family visiting and the relief of poverty

2. The relieving officer as first state social worker

3. State and charitable social work

4. Finding moral voice: Ethics and values in peace and war

5. Women take the field

6. Competing visions, different pathways

7. Social work and social democracy

8. Social work in a market society

9. Social justice and social work in the 21st century.

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John H. Pierson worked for Cheshire Social Services for many years before moving to teach at Staffordshire University, from which he has just retired after 30 years. He is the author of Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion: Promoting Social Justice in Social Work (Routledge, 2016), among many other publications.