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Social Work Contexts: Looking Beyond our 'Environment'

West, Deborah (2007). Social Work Contexts: Looking Beyond our 'Environment'. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences,1(4):93-98.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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IRMA ID 78667606xPUB24
Title Social Work Contexts: Looking Beyond our 'Environment'
Author West, Deborah
Journal Name International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1833-1882   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-79954463531
Start Page 93
End Page 98
Total Pages 6
Place of Publication Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Publisher Common Ground Publishing
Field of Research 1608 - Sociology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Social work practice maintains a dual focus on the person and their environment and works to improve the ‘fit’ between the person and their environment. To understand and work at this nexus social work draws upon knowledge from a range of disciplines in the development of its own theories and models for intervention. Primary among these is knowledge and theory from the field of sociology. However, this has been predominantly based on the traditional sociological theorists such as Weber, Durkheim and Parsons and subsequent sociological understandings that have developed along these lines. In the 1970’s Catton and Dunlap argued that these ideas have been developed in a Human Exceptionalist Paradigm that sees humans as being central and superior to other living creatures. Instead they advocated for the development of theory in a New Environmental Paradigm that sees humans as one part of the broader ecological environment. Yet this argument has sat largely on the fringe of sociological discussions and went relatively un-noticed in the social work profession. This paper takes up the themes presented by Catton and Dunlap and explores the centrality and impact of this Human Exceptionalist position in social work practice. It is argued that this has had significant implications in terms of theory and model development which limit our understandings and ability to work in the current global context. The significance of disciplinary heritage, knowledge and overlap is emphasised and the importance of ongoing dialogue between disciplines in the social science field is highlighted.
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Created: Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 08:35:25 CST by Administrator