As a discipline, social work needs an inclusive metatheory for both research and practice that goes beyond positivism and constructivism. This is the first book to present and discuss how critical realism can contribute to a more useful and realistic approach to both research and practice in social work. As a theory of science that includes normative theories and emphasises method-pluralism and holistic thinking, critical realism is applicable to a world of poverty, global health problems and social conflicts.
Contributors to this book present a realist perspective on social work. The connection between critical realism and social work is illuminated through a theoretical introduction in Part 1. Part 2 covers the specific topics of normativity, interdisciplinarity and education. Part 3 presents practical/empirical examples from contemporary research in social work, using different approaches based on critical realism.
As critical realism can contribute to a useful and realistic approach to research and practice, this book is essential reading for professionals, academics and students working in different fields of social work and health care.
Table of Contents
List of figures
Chapter 1. Toward an in-depth understanding of professional social and welfare work (Monica Kjørstad and May-Britt Solem)
Chapter 2. Basic concepts in critical realism (Monica Kjørstad and May-Britt Solem)
Chapter 3. Normativity in the social sciences and professions (Andrew Sayer)
Chapter 4. Interdisciplinary work in a critical realist perspective (Berth Danermark)
Chapter 5. Learning to absent the absent: critical realism and social work education (Stanley Houston and Lorna Montgomery)
Chapter 6. Understanding the dynamics between professional social and welfare work and social politics: a critical realist perspective (Monica Kjørstad)
Chapter 7. Encounters uncovered: implementing critical realism and domain theory in ethnographic research with young masculinities (Harry Lunabba)
Chapter 8. Parenting stress and coping practices in a critical realist perspective (May-Britt Solem)
Chapter 9. Positions of young people in child welfare: "TMSA" in research practice (Elina Pekkarinen)
Chapter 10. Theory and practice as a dynamic relation (Monica Kjørstad and May-Britt Solem)
Monica Kjørstad is Associate Professor in Social Work at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. Her interests are social administration and planning, leadership and implementation issues connected to social work, welfare and human rights. She holds a PhD in social work and social policy.
May-Britt Solem is Associate Professor in Social Work at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. She has constructed and now coordinates the Master Program in Family Therapy. Her current research is a longitudinal study of parenting practices and stress and sons' transitions to adulthood. She holds a PhD in psychology.