Practical Social Work Ethics : Complex Dilemmas Within Applied Social Care book cover
1st Edition

Practical Social Work Ethics
Complex Dilemmas Within Applied Social Care

ISBN 9781409438250
Published August 15, 2013 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This is the first text of its kind to deal exclusively with applied social work ethics. It focuses on an eclectic mix of difficult moral questions or issues encountered in much modern day practice. It is therefore not theoretically driven with some practical elements attached, but is instead is a practice-based book, where any theory introduced is linked to tangible practice situations. It is also thought-provoking, controversial in parts and always engaging. The book is divided into three key sections, each introduced by the editors: Past and Present: Moral Practices with Children and Families Ethical Tensions? Ambivalent Ethics and Adult Social Work Contesting Modernisation Each section covers a range of topics and poses difficult questions which link to ethical dilemmas or anxieties. These are attached to themes such as whether culturally sensitive social work is always a good thing, the implications of secrets and silence within inter-generational families or the use of Controlled Treatment Orders or medical and social models within mental health social work. Other chapters ask whether the many forms of user/carer participation within social work education or practise are ethically viable, explore the moral paradoxes which emerge when vested financial interest sometimes appear to eclipse users' interests, examine the implications of avoiding or uncritically deploying 'touch' in social work/care or consider the many moral implications of institutional abuse within social work. With a focussed and clear writing style, this book will be of interest to all social work students and practitioners interested in the practical yet complex moral ramifications of their applied role.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: practical social work ethics, professionalism and ethical space, Malcolm Carey and Lorraine Green; Part I Past and Present: Moral Practices with Children and Families: Beyond the community of persons to be accorded ’respect’? Messages from the past for social work in the Republic of Ireland, Paul Michael Garrett; Secrets and lies: the ethical implications of family estrangement, Kylie Agllias and Mel Gray; Is cultural sensitivity always a good thing? Arguments for a universalist social work, Gurnam Singh and Stephen Cowden; To touch or not to touch? Exploring the dilemmas and ambiguities associated with touch in social work and social care settings, Lorraine Green and Ros Day. Part II Ethical Tensions? Ambivalent Ethics and Adult Social Work: Doing what’s best, but best for whom? Ethics and the mental health social worker, Kenneth McLaughlin and Sean Cordell; Ethical contradictions in critiques of psychiatry, John Hopton; An ethics journey: ethical governance of social research with vulnerable adults and the implications for practice, Richard Ward and Sarah Campbell. Part III Contesting Modernisation: Where did we go wrong? An analysis of economic conflicts of interest, perverse financial incentives and NOMBism, Lynn Wrennall; More than this? Some ethical doubts (and possibilities) regarding service user and carer participation within social work, Malcolm Carey; Resistance in and outside the workplace: ethical practice and managerialism in the voluntary sector, Donna Baines; Index.

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Dr Malcolm Carey and Dr Lorraine Green, both at the University of Manchester, UK.


’As the editors of this volume note, we appear to be living in moralized times, with the State and its intermediaries increasingly focused on moral regulation, often at the expense of ordinary help for families and individuals. The chapters in this book remind us of the urgent need for social work to conceptualise and debate its role and its relationship to the State and its projects. They underscore the need to continue to explore our professional ethics, providing a rich vocabulary to explore the vexing moral dilemmas of practice.’ Sue White, University of Birmingham, UK 'This book is a valuable addition to the social work ethics narrative. Where possible, it highlights the routes to follow; at other times, it signposts opportunities for future research and contemplation. It makes clear that you and I have our part to play in this debate. In my opinion, anyone engaged with the application of ethical practice in social work or social care should read this book.' British Journal of Social Work