The various strategies representing the promotion of social work as an entrepreneurial profession attempting to re-make itself in the contemporary conditions do not, of course, represent the only option. The second strategic response we will examine is the contemporary resurgence of a long-standing orientation towards social work practice — variously called scientific practice, empirical clinical practice, research-based practice, or evidence-based practice (Trinder, 2000a). Occurring on a broader scale than social work, the renaissance of evidence or more particularly of a specific form of ‘evidence’ in the contemporary regime of welfare is entirely congruent with the times. As we will see, discussions about the delivery of social welfare as well as contemporary approaches to social policy in the advanced welfare states increasingly make reference to the proactive use of evidence.
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