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Work, welfare & social work practice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
1991 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is a study of the search for the essential nature of social work practice. The text is divided into two parts. The first part presents a theoretical analysis of the intraprofessional discourse in search of a generic study-object for social work practice. Part 2 follows with an empirical application of the theoretical findings for the field of occupational social work. Placed within a framework that seeks to identify fundamental contextual issues, practice traditions and prevailing dilemmas of current practice theory, this study examines social work practice in Sweden and the USA today. The project is built upon a qualitative research method based upon the social work tradition of the use-of-self as the instrument of practice and a complex triangulation design which builds upon a practitioner-researcher perspective. In part 1, social work practice is defined by its practice focus, the internal dynamics of practice, and its external societal relations, the external dynamics of practice. The intra-professional struggle to define a generic study-object is plagued historically by the polarization between micro and macro practice traditions. The central problem for the development of social work practice theory is formulated as an embarrassing void. Clues are identified within the professional debates gradually marking the route for the identification of the embarrassing void and a generic studyobject of social work practice as a concept of victimization. Victimization is defined as a process concept of relationship-in-action, the contradiction of which is the function of practice, the advocacy of basic human rights. The relevance of a concept of victimization for social work practice is examined against the societal context in Sweden and the USA where underlying philosophical similarities are found to depend upon the citizen's relationship to the employment market for determining the quality of their personal welfare protections. In part 2, the concept of victimization is tested, with the application of an "extreme example" research method, against the boundary practice of occupational social work, and finds that it offers an unrecognized significance for western, democratic welfare states today. Empirical case-studies of occupational social work practices in Sweden and the USA are reported, examined and compared. The numerous and penetrating consequences of this study call for a re-examination of social work practice with relationship to the centrality of victimization processes and the relevance of employment for social work clients. The study concludes with a proposal for a new Social Justice Model for social work practice to be founded upon basic human rights in the private (family) and public (employment) spheres of everyday life as the concrete manifestation of the practice of social work with issues of victimization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 1991. , p. 253
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 6
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173959Libris ID: 7223145ISBN: 912201411X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173959DiVA, id: diva2:1356726
Public defence
1991-02-07, Sal G, Biologihusen, Frescati, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2019-10-02 Created: 2019-10-02 Last updated: 2019-11-13Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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