Journal Article

Changes in the Form of Knowledge in Social Work: From the ‘Social’ to the ‘Informational’?

Nigel Parton

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 2, pages 253-269
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl337
Changes in the Form of Knowledge in Social Work: From the ‘Social’ to the ‘Informational’?

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This paper examines the changing form of knowledge in social work over the past thirty years and its implications for theory and practice. In particular, it considers the impact of new systems related to a range of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the shift from a narrative to a database way of thinking and operating. In doing so, it attempts to identify a series of key challenges and questions which need to be considered in order to engage with the changes. In particular, it addresses how far social work is still primarily concerned with subjects and their social relationships and argues that social work now operates less on the terrain of the ‘social’ and more on the terrain of the ‘informational’. Such changes have implications for the relationship between theory and practice in social work and the nature of ‘social’ work itself.

Keywords: knowledge; theory; information

Journal Article.  7700 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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