The essays in this book discuss the evolution of the profession of social work in the twentieth century. Its specific focus is the relationship of the professional social worker to the poor. Attempting to avoid the usual retelling of the standard narrative of the social work profession, The Professionalization of Poverty provides a perspective that goes beyond the typical boundaries of liberal/conservative paradigms and suggests that social work incorporate intellectual and methodological elements compatible with both.
The professionalization of poverty - common themes and contributions, P. Nelson Reid and Gary R. Lowe; a profession for the poor? - a history of social work in the United States, Philip Popple and P. Nelson Reid; the uneasy marriage of professional social work and public relief, 1870-1940, Beverly Stadum; "In a World Gone Industrial" - specialization and the search for social work practice above the poverty line, Paul H. Stuart; the service trap - social work and public welfare policy in the 1960s, Leslie Leighninger; poverty, public welfare, and professionalism - opportunity lost, Gary R.Lowe and P. Nelson Reid; "Prising Open That Old Prejudiced Door" - African Americans, poverty, and social work in the early29th century, Susan Kerr Chandler; Harry Lawrence Lurie and social work's questionable commitment to social and economic justice, Joe M. Schriver; ideological nostalgia, intellectual narcosis, David Stoesz; Afterword, Clarke A. Chambers.