There is a certain ambiguity about the current identity and status of community social work (CSW). This in part reflects a paradox concerning limitations in the predictive capacity of social work to resolve many of the problems it identifies in the community, in its theory and practice (Hugman, 2005), at a time when, as the above quote notes, methods of community intervention are being brought back into use. CSW has undergone a transformation from the pioneer days of small patch teams being set up by local authorities in the 1980s (Cooper, 1983) alongside preventive projects in the voluntary sector (Holman, 1981), to become part of a process of social inclusion and neighbourhood renewal (Popple, 2006a). However, underlying such development is a tension about the changing relationship between the state and its citizens. In particular, whether the modernised state can promote change at the local level in favour of marginalised groups, and develop preventive policies for collaboration and inclusion whilst resisting pressure for more enforcement and control (Stepney, 2006a).
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