Social Work and Community Development in Australia

Authored by: Philip Mendes , Fronica Binns

The Routledge Handbook of Community Development

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138940765
eBook ISBN: 9781315674100
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315674100.ch31

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Abstract

Social work and community development in Australia have a complex relationship. Community-based interventions are relatively marginal in social work practice, and many community development workers seem to hold a negative view of social work and social workers. Equally, social work and community development seem to be divided around the target (individual versus collective) of their practice interventions, and in their attitudes to professionalism. Yet at the same time, some social work practitioners and educators argue that social work and community development share similar values, and view community development as a crucial social work strategy that can lead to far more effective outcomes for service users. Using the findings of two recent small-scale studies of Australian social workers who integrated community development values, skills and strategies into their practice, we argue in favor of a closer partnership between the two disciplines. There is also an urgent need for further research into the attitudes held by social workers and community development workers towards one another.

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