Spirituality and secularity

Authored by: Beth R. Crisp

The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Theory

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415793438
eBook ISBN: 9781315211053
Adobe ISBN:


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On matters associated with religion and spirituality, the question has been raised: ‘Who tells social work’s story?’ (Vanderwoerd, 2011, p. 237). While the questioner argues that it should be social workers telling their own story rather than scholars from other disciplines, the experiences and perspectives of social workers on these issues are diverse and positionality may be critical in interpreting the stories which are told. Much of the social work literature on religion and spirituality has emerged from the UK and the US, but the concerns of social workers in these countries not only differ from those of their colleagues elsewhere, but also differ from each other (Crisp, 2017). Perspectives from social workers from former colonies differ from those of their colleagues in the UK (Stirling, Furman, Benson, Canda, & Grimwood, 2010), and even within the UK, the story varies for social workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Carlisle, 2016; Whiting, 2008).

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