Postmodernism and Social Work

Elizabeth Ann Danto

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Postmodernism and Social Work

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“The postmodern movement has had a dramatic influence on social work,” wrote Joan Laird in 1995. “It is too early to know how widespread this paradigmatic shift will be. . . . Nevertheless, it is forcing a re-examination of some of social work’s long and dearly held assumptions.” Today the postmodern paradigm has advanced into virtually every aspect of social work practice—psychotherapy, family therapy, gerontology, policy analysis, research, community organizing, and agency administration, to name a few. Social workers have found that postmodernism synchronizes well with the profession’s core “person-in-environment” principle because, as Malcolm Payne defines it, “postmodernism refers to changes in the way in which we think about our societies and the way in which we create and understand knowledge.” After nearly fifty years of reading the post-1960s architects of postmodernism, such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan, social workers have begun to integrate the terminology and key concepts into the professional literature. In view of this integration, the purpose of this article is twofold: to provide a coherent, organized, and accessible overview of postmodern theory as applied to and interpreted by the social work profession and to identify the influence of postmodernism on major research themes and practice ideologies in the key areas of social work. This bibliography organizes writings on postmodernism in social work according to the profession’s core curriculum areas of human behavior in the social environment, practice (micro and macro), policy, and research. While books and articles have been published in each of these areas, no journal of record has yet emerged.

Article.  5924 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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