social work

social work
The generic term applied to the various organized methods for promoting human welfare through the prevention and relief of suffering. In the late nineteenth century, social work was largely voluntary (notably as a charitable activity on the part of middle-class women), and aimed primarily at the alleviation of material poverty . In the period since the Second World War, social work practice has become increasingly professionalized , and now has a much wider remit embracing emotional and mental as well as economic well-being.
Contemporary social work tends to suffer from a lack of differentiation from the various other social services which comprise the modern welfare state . In Britain, for example, social workers have no legal obligation (and no practical resources) to deal with issues of unemployment , housing, and poverty-all of which are the responsibility of other social services. What they are expected to deal with are the wide range of problems which diminish the ‘quality of inner life’: for example, problems and crises associated with adoption, fostering of the young and old, marital reconciliation, sexual and physical abuse, and people's relationships with one another generally.
There are several models of social work practice. The ‘problem-solving’ approach involves the social worker in reinforcing the client's emotional and organizational resources to deal with his or her difficulties. The various ‘psycho-social therapies’ stress the need for prior psycho-social diagnosis as a prerequisite to psycho-social treatment. Partly as a reaction against the deterministic and mechanical view of action implied in these approaches, ‘functionalists’ have emphasized the role of the social worker in helping (rather than treating) the client, by sustaining an appropriate supporting relationship with him or her. Other models are oriented towards behaviour-modification, crisis-intervention, and short-term task-centredness. In reality, practice tends to be characterized by eclectic pragmatism, rather than adherence to a specific method. Strong recent influences include feminist theory and anti-oppressive practice. Good recent overviews are, Modern Social Work Theory (1991), for Britain, and, Social Work and Social Welfare (2nd edn., 1992), for the United States.
Not surprisingly, many outside observers have expressed concern at the periodic psychotherapeutic takeover of social work; similarly, given its inherently moral character, social work practice has been subject to repeated controversy involving those who view it as primarily a political tool-either for promoting or hindering social justice.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Social work — / child and youth worker Occupation Activity sectors Pursuit of social welfare and social change Social Work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community… …   Wikipedia

  • social work — social worker. organized work directed toward the betterment of social conditions in the community, as by seeking to improve the condition of the poor, to promote the welfare of children, etc. [1915 20] * * * Any of various professional… …   Universalium

  • social work — ► NOUN ▪ work carried out by trained personnel with the aim of alleviating the conditions of those people suffering from social deprivation. DERIVATIVES social worker noun …   English terms dictionary

  • social work — n [U] work done by government or private organizations to improve bad social conditions and help people who are poor, have family problems, are unable to find a job etc …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • social work — n any of various professional services, activities, or methods concretely concerned with the investigation, treatment, and material aid of the economically, physically, mentally, or socially disadvantaged …   Medical dictionary

  • social work — n. any service or activity designed to promote the welfare of the community and the individual, as through counseling services, health clinics, recreation halls and playgrounds, or aid for the needy, the aged, the physically handicapped, etc …   English World dictionary

  • social work — n. to do social work * * * [ səʊʃ(ə)lwɜːk] to do social work …   Combinatory dictionary

  • social work — N UNCOUNT Social work is work which involves giving help and advice to people with serious family problems or financial problems …   English dictionary

  • Social work with groups — Social Work with GroupsThe group process contains the secret of collective life, it is the key to democracy, it is the master lesson for every individual to learn, it is our chief hope for the political, the social, the international life of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Social work knowledge building — The International Federation of Social Workers states, of social work today, social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of evidence based knowledge derived from research and practice evaluation, including local and indigenous… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”