Journal Article

The Rise of Relativism: The Future of Theory and Knowledge Development in Social Work

COLIN PEILE and MAL MCCOUAT

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 27, issue 3, pages 343-360
Published in print June 1997 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 1997 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjsw.a011217
The Rise of Relativism: The Future of Theory and Knowledge Development in Social Work

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This paper explores a range of paradigms evident in recent debates about social work theory and epistemology, including the positivist, post-positivist, interpretivist, critical, ecological, feminist, poststructural and creative positions. While applauding the openness generated by these competing approaches, concerns are raised about the emergence of a meta-paradigm of relativism. After identifying the evidence of this move towards relativism in various paradigms, the potential problems and limitations of this trend for social work are explored. Relativism has, however, played an important role in undermining dogmatic attachments to certain positions and the paper attempts to rescue this useful quality of relativism while combining it with a constructive commitment to creative action.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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