International Handbook on Social Work Theory and Practice

International Handbook on Social Work Theory and Practice

International Handbook on Social Work Theory and Practice

International Handbook on Social Work Theory and Practice


Social work originates from humanitarian, religious, and democratic ideals and philosophies, and has universal applications to meet human needs arising from personal-societal interactions. Professional social workers are dedicated to service for the welfare and self-fulfillment of human beings; to the disciplined use of scientific knowledge regarding human and societal behavior; to the development of resources to meet individual, group, national, and international needs and aspirations; and to the achievement of social justice. This handbook raises issues such as, Are there globally recognized values of social work? Is there a model of international practice that is applicable across the range of interventions--micro to mezzo to macro? Do social workers have a professional identity which unites them the world over? This handbook covers the five continents of the globe by presenting the state of the art theory and practice of social work within selected countries which have a legacy of social work, either imported from the west or indigenously developed within the country. In the context of conditions prevalent in these countries the handbook highlights the constant challenges facing social workers and social work organizations to meet the needs of the individuals and societies they service.


Phyllida Parsloe

This book has two separate and quite distinct uses. First, it allows some readers to obtain a quick overview of social work and the theories and values which support it in the particular areas or countries of the world. For those with interests in social work and social policy in other countries, this book provides a starting point for understanding the system they are entering. The second use of this book is to assist readers to delve more deeply into the meaning of social work and the relationship between theory and practice by making comparisons between what is described by the same words in different countries and to note the differences and the essential similarities.

Used in this second way, this book allows social workers to recognize once again that what they take for granted is not always a given but is socially constructed. One might expect social workers to know this, since their entire working lives are spent trying to understand the particular features which distinguish one community, family, or individual from all others. However, my experience of international social work organizations leads me to believe that while we may be good at seeing what is particular and what is common in those with whom we work as users or clients, we do not always apply the same discipline and way of thinking to each other as social workers and social work organizations--we assume common constructs where they may not exist.

Few will be able to read this book without tripping themselves up on their own hard-held and well-hidden assumptions. But for those of us who trip, the book is achieving what must have been one of the aims of its editors--that readers bring together their knowledge and feelings and examine them in the light of the values they espouse. In doing so, readers will be replicating the process which social workers go through when they attempt to integrate theory and practice. This is a complex process, and we still know too little about how it is achieved. It is difficult enough when one is applying theories developed within one's own culture to practice within it. But, as this book makes clear, in . . .

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