I regularly find myself asking this question – Is Social Work serious about social chance? I believe that this has been a question within the profession of social work since its inception. My concern is that in these increasingly conservative times, social work has taken on a more conservative approach to change and in fact, may be more concerned with assisting people to cope with the impacts of the system rather than changing that system.
One of the reasons for this concern is my ongoing worry that social work has refused to acknowledge the value of theories such as postmodernism and feminism. Both of these theories are critical in considering contemporary issues of social change and yet both appear to be largely ignored by our major universities. I think that social work colludes with the popular view that feminism and postmodernism are fringe perspectives that have little relevance to most people in the world. I think that this is a terrible tragedy and may well indicate a conservatism in social work that is not conducive to promoting meaningful change.
My sadness about this issue is that I believe that social workers are in a position of strength to be able to identify key social issues and to explore responses to them that promote real change for the people that we work with.
I would like to further develop my ideas about this and write an article addressing these concerns. I’d love to hear any thoughts others might have. I wonder if the AASW Journal, Social Work, might publish it!
I’ll keep you posted.