Trying to understand how the world looks through the eyes of different individuals and groups and how it shapes the ways they think and act is something social workers do all the time. It is what social theorists do too. This book identifies and explains in a highly accessible manner the absolute value of social theory for social work. Drawing on the theoretical ideas and perspectives of a wide range of classical and modern social theorists, the book demonstrates the insights their work can bring to bear on a wide range of social work practice scenarios, issues and debates.
Departing with the work of the classical theorists, the book covers a diverse range of theoretical traditions, including phenomenology, symbolic interactionism, Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, feminism and globalization theory. Putting to work ideas from these different perspectives, a range of social work scenarios, issues and debates are opened up and explored. The final chapter brings together the various theoretical strands, and critically considers the contribution they can make towards realizing core social work values in a rapidly globalizing world.
Demonstrating exactly how and in what ways social theory can make important and enduring contributions to social work, Social Theory for Social Work is an essential read for social work students, practitioners and professionals alike.
Christopher Thorpe is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Exeter. His areas of expertise include classical and modern social theory, cultural sociology and social justice. Previously he was at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, where he taught sociology and social theory to social work students. Together with David Inglis, he is author of An Invitation to Social Theory (2012).
List of tables Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Social Theory Matters for Social Work Chapter 2: Classical Social Theory and Modern Social Problems Chapter 3 Phenomenology and Social Theory: Exploring the Life-World of the Service User Chapter 4: Symbolic Interactionism and the Social Self Chapter 5: Norbert Elias: Emotions, Rationality and Self-Restraint Chapter 6: Michel Foucault: Social Work and Professional Power Chapter 7: Pierre Bourdieu: Symbolic Violence and Self-Exclusion Chapter 8: Feminist Social Theory and Social Work Chapter 9: Globalization and Social Work Chapter 10: Conclusion: The Future of Social Work and Social Theory Index