1st Edition

Social Work and Common Sense A Critical Examination

By Paul Michael Garrett Copyright 2024
    296 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Rooted in a lively, critical approach to social work education and practice, Social Work and Common Sense challenges readers to think critically and more deeply about core facets of social work knowledge and ‘received ideas’. Garrett draws on the work of Antonio Gramsci to develop new, and often provocative, insights on attachment theory, creativity, anger, human rights, the ‘unmarried mother’ in Ireland’s past, and contemporary approaches to ‘decolonising’ social work education.

    The book is divided into ten chapters, each of which includes a series of reflection and talk boxes to assist students to critically reflect (individually and in class/seminar and fieldwork/workplace discussions) on key facets of the preceding chapter.

    Addressing often complex ideas in a freshly accessible way, Social Work and Common Sense will be required reading in all postgraduate and advanced undergraduate classes in theory and social work.

    1.Introduction.  2.Theorising common sense.  3.History, common sense and the ‘unmarried mother’ in Ireland.  4.Bowlbyism, common sense and child attachment theory.  5. Common sense creativity.  6.Social work, common sense and anti-anger ideology.  7.Common sense social work and ambivalent allure of human rights.  8.Colonial common sense and ‘decolonising’ social work.  9.Latin American challenges to the common sense of the global north.  10.Conclusion – Towards a new common sense for social work? 


    Paul Michael Garrett has been described by the International Journal of Social Welfare as 'probably the most important critical social work theorist in the English-speaking world'. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and works in Galway. The author of several books, his most recent is Dissenting Social Work published by Routledge in 2021. Associated website: https://www.pmgarrettdsw.com/

    This book undoubtedly builds upon previous excellent work from Garrett, in particular on “keywords” (for example Garrett 2018), and therefore regular followers of his will find this a valuable new contribution. However, in dealing with something as ubiquitous and fundamental as common sense, this book will grip a wide range of readers, including social work students, practitioners and academics, and also those outside the social work profession with an interest in common sense and how this comes to be deployed in a professional context such as social work. At a time when there is an increasing insistence in many areas of social work to delineate and narrow what is seen as appropriate and acceptable knowledge, Garrett’s consistent dedication to explore further horizons for social work knowledge and practice is consistently refreshing. The broad approach to the subject also makes the book relevant to social workers everywhere, regardless of geographic location or area of practice…I expect to return to this book frequently, as I do with much of his work

    Joe Hanley, Practice: Social Work in Action, 2024