1st Edition

Social Work and Social Exclusion The Idea of Practice

By Michael Sheppard Copyright 2006
    278 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Social exclusion is a subject of major importance in contemporary social work and has been a core feature of social policy developments in the UK and Europe in the past decade. Michael Sheppard argues that the issue of social exclusion lies at the very heart of social work and he examines the implications of this position for both theory and practice. He goes on to examine a range of key topics in social work including: ¢ Social work values and knowledge ¢ Empowerment ¢ Need ¢ The exercise of authority ¢ Authority and Choice ¢ Evidence-based practice ¢ Reflection and reflective learning ¢ Judgement and decision making ¢ Social work and 'art' ¢ Social work as 'science' He discusses how each of these topics reflect an underlying concern with social exclusion, making it clear that even though the term 'social exclusion' is of recent origin, it provides a framework for understanding the enduring themes of social work. The book offers an original contribution to the understanding and practice of social work and includes a reappraisal of some fundamental aspects of the profession and its practice. In its focus on issues of wide concern it will be essential reading for practitioners and students in social work. It will also be of interest within social policy generally, offering an example of the way in which social exclusion becomes an issue of professional concern in welfare, and the form this takes in practice.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction; Social exclusion and social work; Social work and social exclusion; The nature of social work; Knowledge values, post modernism and social work; Need; Authority and choice; Empowerment; Maintenance, social functioning and coping; Interpretivism, reflection and social work as art; Social work, science and technical instrumentalism; Judgement and decision making: practical reasoning, process knowledge and critical thinking; Social work intervention and human nature; Conclusion: the discipline of social work; Bibliography; Indexes.


    Dr Michael Sheppard is Professor of Social Work at the University of Plymouth, UK.

    ’Against today’s context of interprofessional practice and interdisciplinary research, Michael Sheppard develops a compelling and scholarly argument that social work, with its ongoing relationship to social exclusion, is not only a form of practice but also a discipline in its own right. This book is very timely and makes a major contribution to current debates about the distinctiveness of social work.’ Imogen Taylor, University of Sussex, UK ’Michael Sheppard’s book locates social work between the mainstream and the marginalized, the public and the private. This is a clear and comprehensive analysis of the big issues in social work theory, which clarifies key debates in the literature of practice.’ Bill Jordan, Plymouth University, Huddersfield University and London Metropolitan University, UK ’What a refreshing, stimulating and engaging read Social Work and Social Exclusion proved to be. Refreshing because Michael Sheppard takes the reader beyond familiar laments about the policy annihilation of social work; stimulating because of the reach and penetration of his analysis; and engaging in its style, structure and content...Social Work and Social Exclusion should be a key text for qualifying or PQ students, and for any social worker who wants reminding about why they came into the profession.’ Professional Social Work ’...this book takes an original standpoint...its arguments are persuasive...language is precise and positions clearly stated. It gives excellent definitions of key terms...by questioning key concepts in social work (need, choice, empowerment and so on), this book offers much for the student and reflective practitioner.’ Community Care