In this chapter, we turn to another set of discourses that have a (re)emerging influence in many contemporary practice contexts. They are citizen rights, those associated with religion and spirituality, and environmental social work. Although these discourses, particularly citizen rights and religious discourses, are increasingly incorporated into mainstream health and welfare provision in many contexts, here, we refer to them as ‘alternative discourses’ because, like the human science discourses discussed in Chapter 4, they are concerned with providing holistic responses to human need, but dispute aspects of the human science discourses that social workers have relied on in constructing their knowledge base for practice. Alternative discourses offer much more than ways of constituting health and welfare services, even so the focus here is on how these discourses construct core concepts, like client needs and capacities, and the provision of health and welfare services, including the role of the social worker. Figure 5.1 highlights the discourses we focus on this chapter.
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