Journal Article

Moral Character in Social Work

Chris Clark

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 1, pages 75-89
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Moral Character in Social Work

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While the standard ethics of social work are derived from liberal individualism with its minimal prescriptions for human welfare and neutral stance on the nature of a good life, in practice social workers necessarily engage with the particular, idiosyncratic values and choices of specific individuals and communities. The social work role, as in other human service professions such as teaching and nursing, sometimes requires more than the competent delivery of standardized service: it also involves modelling ways of life and counselling over morally problematic issues. Value neutrality over many pressing contemporary social issues is thus neither feasible nor desirable for human service professionals. The requirements of the role include demonstrating a virtuous character. This has long been implicitly accepted in practice, if not always clearly acknowledged, but is becoming more prominent with the new requirements of professional registration.

Keywords: professional ethics; values; virtue; character.

Journal Article.  6987 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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