Globalization is a topic that has received growing attention in the press and media as well as in the economic, political and social sciences. However, it has only more recently been acknowledged as constituting several processes affecting the welfare sector and, more specifically, the work of social professionals. The focus of social work on the relationship between individuals, families, groups or communities and their environments has emphasized the ‘local’ nature of intervention and the importance of developing services and practices which are appropriate to a given context and culture (Webb, 2003). We do not contest this emphasis but argue that social work across the globe is now operating under different conditions, which produce new social problems — or exacerbate old ones. Social professionals therefore need to review services and practices in the light of international events and perspectives. For some, this entails working in international settings, but for others it means incorporating internationalized perspectives into local practice.
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