2nd Edition

Social Work: The Basics

By Mark Doel Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This revised second edition of Social Work: The Basics is an insightful introduction to the often misrepresented world of social work. This accessible book presents a broad view of contemporary social work, exploring its roots and its possible future. It dispels myths surrounding social work, addresses media debates, and offers a balanced account of what social workers do.

    Arguing for a social work that is partisan in support of social justice, questions covered include:

    • How did social work arise?
    • How and why do people come into contact with social workers?
    • What are the true aims of social work – to help or to control?
    • What is the relationship between social work and social policy?
    • How and why do people become social workers?
    • What’s it like to be a social worker?
    • Can social work cross borders?

    Drawing examples from the full range of social work practice, this book is valuable reading for all individuals interested in the field of social work. It will provide a helpful introduction for students considering a career in social work, those beginning social work courses, and other professionals whose work brings them into contact with social workers.

    0.Pioneer, Investigator, Agitator: An Introduction to the Second Edition.  1.Reformist or Radical: Social Work’s Roots and Different Identities.  2.Saint or Sinner: The Public Face of Social Work.  3.Client, Service User or Expert by Experience: How and Why People Come Into Contact with Social Work.  4.A Profession or a Career; A Calling or a Job: What Social Workers Do and How Social Work is Organised.  5.A Discipline or a Skill; An Education or a Training: How Social Workers Learn Their Practice.  6.Universal or Specific: Social Work Local and Global.  7.Utopia or Dystopia: ‘The Pioneers of Today are the Prophets of Tomorrow’ (Attlee).


    Mark Doel is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Sheffield Hallam University, England. He has a wealth of experience in social work – practising, teaching and writing about it. He has worked in the UK, USA, Eastern Europe and Russia. He is the author of Rights and Wrongs in Social Work (2016) and Social Work in 42 Objects (2017).

    In Social Work – The Basics, Mark Doel explores social work from historical, local, and global perspectives, with a keen eye to political context, cultural diversity, and the possibilities for change.  In this fascinating second edition, social workers portray their life’s work as objects.  Social work is revealed as a profession, a calling, and a career. 

    Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella, Professor of Social Work, Southern Connecticut State University, USA 

    The international dimension of social work is a feature of this book with examples drawn from around the world. This second edition sets social work in a broad political landscape with inclusive and diverse illustrations that engage all readers.

    Donna Guy, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Aotearoa/NZ

    Mark Doel is recognised as a key figure in social work education with his ability to blend theory and practice so effectively. This important text illustrates nicely how well deserved that reputation is. Social work is a highly demanding but rewarding profession. This book serves an important purpose in making sure that newcomers to the profession get off to a good start in terms of rising to the challenges and appreciating the rewards. 

    Neil Thompson, visiting professor at the Open University, UK