Social work theory, knowledge and practice

Authored by: Malcolm Payne , Emma Reith-Hall

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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Theory tells stories about social work. Each set of theoretical ideas expresses how we may represent some of the aims and practices of important aspects of social work. No one theory represents all social work; rather, each theory is brought together around important facets selected from the whole. In the first part of this Handbook, discussions of theoretical thinking are constructed around important areas of social knowledge that influence ideas about the nature of social work, such as biomedicine, culture, psychology and the social. Theoretical thinking in the second part coalesces around important value concepts that influence social work ideals, such as caring, autonomy and human rights. The third part explores a series of discrete formulations that theorize important ways of doing social work in practice. And in the fourth part, theoretical ideas formed around some selected human groups and services important in social work disclose another reconstruction of concepts explored elsewhere in the Handbook. In every part there would have been other perspectives, theorizations or analyses that could have been included, but we have tried to present a wide and representative range of ideas current in social work debate.

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