Journal Article

Trust and confidence: possibilities for social work in 'high modernity'

C Smith

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 287-305
Published in print April 2001 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Trust and confidence: possibilities for social work in 'high modernity'

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Those who argue that social work has become 'postmodern' also suggest that the demise of foundational knowledge must introduce uncertainty and ambiguity into social worker-service user interactions. Furthermore, if the basis for probability calculations is fatally flawed, then a dependence on risk assessment and risk management can no longer be tenable. Under these conditions Parton (1998) suggests that social work must re-discover trust between Government, managers and social workers and between social workers and service users. In this paper I argue that Parton's analysis of trust is radically incomplete and that a more detailed understanding of the relationship between trust and confidence indicates the very limited possibilities for trust to re-emerge or to survive under current conditions. While I attempt to persuade the reader that trust is necessary for social work, it is evident that Government prefers confidence to trust. This means that trust can only be practised at the margins of social work, where it is relatively invisible and does not pose a threat to the pre-eminent concern with confidence.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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