Social work has always been a contested activity and its status as an academic discipline remains uncertain. There is currently renewed interest in the theoretical and research dimensions of social work, at a time when significant changes in the broad social, political and economic context in which practice takes place require a re-evaluation of social work's role and a re-examination of its identity. This timely book brings together leading social work academics to examine the state of social work at the beginning of the 21st century. With their focus on the relationships between research, theory and practice, they reflect critically on the nature of social work as a discipline in higher education and the importance of this to the profession as a whole. The book represents an exploratory conversation among social work academics about the current state and future aspirations of the discipline and the profession. It aims to stimulate wider debate about the dominant constraints and opportunities for social work in the 21st century.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Jackie Powell, Robin Lovelock and Karen Lyons; Social work, the public sphere and civil society, Bill Jordan and Nigel Parton; The McDonaldization of social work - or 'Come back Florence Hollis, all is (or should be) forgiven', Adrian L. James; The politics of social work research, Ian Butler and Richard Pugh; Gender and knowledge in social work, Karen Lyons and Imogen Taylor; Social work research and the partnership agenda, Steve Trevillion; Taking sides: social work research as a moral and political activity, Beth Humphries; Qualitative research and social work: the methodological repertoire in a practice-oriented discipline, Nick Gould; Research as an element in social work's ongoing search for identity, Walter Lorenz; 'Knowing how to go on': towards situated practice and emergent theory in social work, Jeremy Kearney; Habermas/Foucault for social work: practices of critical reflection, Robin Lovelock and Jackie Powell; Index.
Robin Lovelock is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, UK, Karen Lyons at the London Metropolitan University, UK and Jackie Powell is a Reader in Social Work Studies at the University of Southampton, UK.
’This important book...is extremely timely. [It] successfully troubles the relationships between theory, practice and research as conventionally conceived. The chapters are also soundly related to policy and practice and the book's aim to make good a deficit in theoretical and conceptual debate about social work is certainly achieved, with scholarly contributions from some of the best thinkers and researchers in the field.’ Professor Susan White, University of Huddersfield, UK ’This book brings together leading writers and researchers to develop a 21st-century critical analysis of where social work stands. It shows how social work practice intersects with public policy to form the profession, and with research to form the discipline. The different chapters rigorously interrogate the impact of developments in social science to position social work in current intellectual identity.’ Professor Malcolm Payne, Director of Psycho-Social and Spiritual Care, St Christopher’s Hospice, UK ’...this book offers a thorough discussion of the changing nature of the social work profession and discipline. It is a useful book in allowing students to engage with core debates and develop their own thinking about the fundamental questions of the nature of the social work activity....excellent in assisting the preparation of students in becoming free and critical thinkers who question and challenge seemingly simple and pragmatic government solutions to people’s problems.’ Child and Family Social Work ’...of great interest to all social workers and essential reading for all of those actively engaged in, or considering engagement in, social work research.’ Social Work Review ’There is much here that will be of interest to social work scholars and researchers, and the book deserves to be widely read.’ Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare ’The ten chapters in this edited book are well written and demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the social wor