radical social work

radical social work

a term denoting attempts in the 1970s to achieve a fundamental reorientation of SOCIAL WORK practice (‘radical’ denotes a concerted attempt to change the status quo). The 1970s saw a loose movement known as radical social work, with its roots in an undifferentiated political left. Its main contention was that social problems, including those habitually addressed by social workers, had their roots in structural inequality, principally social CLASS, and not in personal inadequacy as earlier theory seemed to imply

Key ingredients to radical social work as a method were conscientizatian (in Paolo Freire's sense), the empowerment of clients, the opening up of social work processes to public and indeed client participation, and attempts to make broad political alliances of’progressive’ forces (community groups, client groups, trade unions and political parties). In general, radical social workers perceived ambiguity in the state apparatus to the point that real gains were held to be achievable for the working classes.

Currently, a radical right (see NEW RIGHT) has emerged in social work, stressing individual, family, and to a lesser extent community responsibility for social problems. This has been associated with policy shifts in government, leading to the closing of large institutions for the mentally ill and handicapped, the growth of a private welfare sector, and the recent emphasis on COMMUNITY CARE in welfare provision. Faced with these changes the tendency has been for the radical left in social work to fragment, focusing on narrower, albeit significant, issues, such as RACISM, SEXISM and other aspects of EQUALITY.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
It covers psychological, sociological, and organizational theories, as well as ethics and moral philosophies and political theories and ideologies, including psychoanalysis, cognitive and humanistic psychology, feminism, reflexivity, ethics of care, radical social work, models of disability, anti-discriminatory practice, management theories, and organizational culture.
Alem disso, tal como Reisch e Andrews mostraram no importante estudo The Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the USA (2002) (A Estrada Nao Percorrida: Uma Historia do Servico Social Radical nos EUA), em pontos especificos ao longo dos ultimos 100 anos, as ideias radicais tem exercido uma influencia importante na educacao e na pratica do Servico Social, geralmente face a oposicao ferrenha do Estado e das mais importantes correntes profissionais e organizacoes de Servico Social.
Essa critica esteve mais claramente articulada em Radical Social Work (Servico Social Radical), uma coletanea de trabalhos diversos, editada por assistentes sociais da academia, como Roy Bailey e Mike Brake, e que foi lancada em 1975.
Radical social work today; social work at the crossroads.
Wootton also anticipated writers on radical social work (Bailey & Brake, 1976; Langan & Lee, 1989) who would stress the power, invested by the state, that is wielded by social workers.
The first challenge came from the radical social work movement informed by the classical Marxian perspective of class relations (Bailey and Brake 1975; Galper 1975 ; Moreau 1979).
Radical social work in practice; making a difference.
The authors point out that radical social work is as old as the profession itself, having been advocated by some of its most acclaimed founders including Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr and Florence Kelley.
The Rank and File Association, a radical social work group, supported unionization among workers and fostered the unionization of social workers themselves.
I wish to include radical social work approaches because they have not only influenced the profession's current incorporation of feminist and culturally sensitive approaches, but recommend indirect action on the political front.