CHAPTER XVI
SOCIAL AGENCIES AS SOURCES

WITH some of us the team sense, which is the psychological basis of co-operation in social work, never extends beyond a rather mechanical and listless "belonging"; with others it develops and attunes every faculty. The team, according to Joseph Lee, "is created by assuming that it exists and acting boldly out from that assumption. It grows as its members have power to imagine it and faith to maintain, and act upon, the reality of that which they have imagined."1 All co-operation is primarily an act of faith. It implies vision, trust, and a common goal.

Though this theme is an inspiring one, which invites digression, its consideration here must be confined to its relation to social diagnosis.

The writer was at one time chairman of an informal committee of charity organization workers which attempted to give advice by correspondence to colleagues in widely scattered communities. One such fellow worker, who had just become executive secretary of a society long established but with a none too prosperous past, wrote for suggestions about co-operation and added, "The investigations made by this society are very good indeed, but there is no co-operation whatever among the social agencies of the community." As gently as possible, an attempt was made to discover the diagnostic habits of this organization, which had so completely failed to establish relations with its social environment. Inquiries were fruitless. The reply came back that their investigations were "all right," and that what was wanted was light on an entirely different subject.

Case work co-operation of some sort is possible, perhaps, with-

____________________
1
Lee Joseph: Play in Education, p. 339. New York, The Macmillan Co., 1915.

-292-

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