Social work utilises numerous theories about people, problems and society, and these ideally inform how social workers practice. Social work has not been immune to various developments in theory and research methodology across the social sciences that have occurred in fields such as sociology, psychology, political science and anthropology. These social sciences are what might be called informing disciplines to the profession of social work (Chenoweth & McAuliffe, 2015). Each of these disciplines has different orientations to building theory and they use a variety of methods for conducting social research about people, groups, cultures and societies. As you can imagine, this introduces a range of complexities when we consider the social work theoretical landscape. Consequently, there are many textbooks that discuss the different theories developed within the discipline of social work (Adams, Dominelli & Payne, 2009a; Healy, 2014; Howe, 2009; Payne, 2014; Trevithick, 2011; Turner, 2011), and others sources that explore the incorporation of theories into the field of social work (Beresford, 2000; Hudson, 1997; Osmond, 2006). In learning about social work theory, you may feel that you are confronted with a vast array of theoretical ideas, concepts and arguments. Further, you will find that many of these theories offer differing, and at times, competing views and explanations for something. This raises important questions for social work practice. How can we know which theories are useful to understanding or explaining the phenomena we might see in practice? And how can theories help us to know what to do in practice?
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- THEORY AND PRACTICE
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number