Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Work in a Global Context

Issues and Challenges, 1st Edition

Edited by George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva, Mono Chakrabarti


332 pages

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Social Work in a Global Context engages with, and critically explores, key issues that inform social work practice around the world.

Social work can take many forms, and is differently understood in different parts of the world. However, at base, it can be seen as a profession which strives to advance the causes of the vulnerable and marginalised with the aim of promoting social justice, equality, and human rights. This text provides examples of social work in a wide range of countries, informing our understanding of what social work is. It looks at how practice changes or stays the same, and at the impact of policy, as experienced by service users as well as by practitioners working in challenging circumstances. It also meaningfully reflects on the strengths and challenges that are enabled by diversity.

Divided into four parts, this wide-ranging text discusses:

 - what social work means in four different countries

 -some examples of the impact social and political context can have on social work practice

 - how social workers see and work with the vulnerable

 - the future for social work, from disaster work to involving service users.

Social Work in a Global Context is the first truly international book for all those interested in comparative and cross-cultural understandings of social work.


The editors of this useful text on social work in an international context have brought together not only informative descriptive material from a number of countries and social work specialisms but also insightful analysis and reflections. These illustrate both the differences and the similarities in the practices and concepts of social work. The book makes a valuable contribution to the growing literature on local practice in a global environment.

David N Jones, Past President, IFSW

This is a book not afraid to plunge into the dangerously overwhelming depth and breadth of the global agenda for social work. Its editors are right to have confidence in the empowering impact of their international compendium – the exhilaration of the boldly global sweep of some chapters alongside the fascination of the intricate national detailing of others. Every chapter reinforces that social work’s historic failings, its contemporary challenges and its future possibilities have to be understood in a global context. This is a rich addition to the library of a self-reflexive global social work.

John Pinkerton, Professor of Child & Family Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges offers diverse perspectives on social work in a globalized context. Chapters span countries where social work has recently emerged and those with a long-established professional tradition, adding to the richness of the discussion. These carefully chosen examples demonstrate the central premise of the volume—that social work is both a global profession and one that is heavily influenced by local context. Readers will gain a sophisticated understanding of the complex impacts of global forces on social work. The volume is a most welcome addition to the professional literature.

Lynne M. Healy, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, University of Connecticut School of Social Work, West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Table of Contents

Introduction George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti Part 1: Defining and Redefining Social Work in a Global Context Part 1 Introduction George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti 1. Social Work in Australia: Similarities as Difference Barbara Fawcett 2. Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand: Social Policy, Risk and Professionalization Liz Beddoe and Phil Harington 3. Evidence Based Social Work Practice: Challenges and Opportunities in the Global Context Mark J. Macgowan Part 2: Political, Social and Theoretical Context of Social Work Part 2 Introduction George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti 4. Canadian Social Work Practice and First Nations People Michael Hart and Denis Bracken 5. Child and Family Social Work in Canada: Issues and Challenges Within a Neo-liberal Political Context Edward Kruk 6. Politics as Social Work: The Micromanagement of Behaviour in the New Millenium Ken McLaughlin Part 3: Vulnerability in a Global Context Part 3 Introduction George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti 7. What Kinds of Violence and Abuse Affect Vulnerable People? Reflections on the Evolving Context of Adult Protection and Safeguarding in the UK: Legislation, Regulation and Professional Practice Hilary Brown and Susan Hunter 8. Social Work Practice in a Post-9/11 Context: Integrative Practice with Immigrants and Refugees in the United States Amelia Seraphia Derr and Biren 'Ratnesh' Nagda 9. The Making of Childhood in a Post-modern Age: Challenges and Possibilities for Social Work in the United States Mekada J Graham-Gallegan 10. Social Work and HIV/AIDS in Botswana: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward 11. HIV/AIDS in India: Challenges for Professional Social Work Vimla V. Nadkarni and Anita Rego Part 4: Toward the Next Generation: Developments in Social Work Part 4 Introduction George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti 12. Involving Service Users and Carers in Social Work Education: A Consideration of the UK and Global Perspectives Gillian MacIntyre and Pearse McCusker 13. Social Work in Russia: Between the Global and the Local Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova and Pavel Romanov 14. Indigenous Social Work in China Wai-Fong Ting and Eric Blyth 15. A Social Work Charter for Unexpected Disasters: Lessons from the Bam, Iran Earthquake Edward Kruk and Habib Aghabakhshi 16. The Changing Face of Social Work in Youth Justice in Scotland Bill Whyte 17. Australian Social Work in the 21st Millenium: Workforce Trends, Challenges and Opportunities Bob Lonne 18. Conclusion: Social Work: A Unique Profession in a Diverse Context George Palattiyil, Dina Sidhva and Mono Chakrabarti

About the Editors

George Palattiyil, PhD is a Lecturer in Social Work at the School of Social and Political Science, and Deputy Director of Edinburgh India Institute at the University of Edinburgh. He is a qualified social worker and began his academic career in India. He later pursued a PhD in social work at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. His main research and teaching interests are in the area of individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS, human rights, refugees and asylum seekers, older people and international social work and social development, along with a growing interest in the area of cross border reproductive services.

Dina Sidhva, PhDis an Honorary Fellow at the Edinburgh India Institute at the University of Edinburgh and a freelance researcher. She qualified as a social worker in India and obtained a PhD in social work from the University of Edinburgh. She has taught and practiced social work both in India and in Scotland. Her research interests span HIV/AIDS, women and children, asylum seekers and refugees, migration and human rights issues, commercial surrogacy, and focus on giving voice to the voiceless.

Mono Chakrabarti (1942-2015) was Emeritus Professor in Social Policy in the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. He was a qualified social worker and studied at the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics, University of London. Before joining Strathclyde, he was a lecturer in Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Glasgow. His research interests were migration and ethnicity, mental health, comparative social policy and vocational education. His publications have appeared in various refereed journals, both national and international and he has written a number of books.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Social Work

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