Article

Progressive Social Work

Rosemary Barbera, Mary Bricker-Jenkins and Barbara Hunter Randall Joseph

in Encyclopedia of Social Work

Published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press


Published online June 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199975839 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.312

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  • Practical Ethics
  • Human Behaviour and the Social Environment
  • Social Work Macro Practice
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  • Social Justice and Human Rights

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Since the beginning of the profession, progressive social work has been characterized by a lived commitment to practice dedicated to advancing human rights and social and economic justice. Since the mid-1980s, the rise of global capitalism has vitiated support for robust social welfare programs and has had a conservatizing effect on the profession, rendering the progressive agenda both more urgent and more difficult. The economic crisis of 2008 has seen a rise in people suffering, while at the same time those programs that would help ease suffering are being cut back, further perpetuating the myth that austerity is the cure for the disease that it has caused. Meanwhile, the modernist ideals that gave rise to progressivism are being challenged by postmodernist thinkers. Progressive social work has responded to both challenges with innovation and energy, but theoretical and practical conundrums remain.

Keywords: critical; radical; structural; progressive; welfare state; globalization; postmodernism

Article.  8918 words. 

Subjects: Practical Ethics ; Human Behaviour and the Social Environment ; Social Work Macro Practice ; Social Policy and Advocacy ; Social Justice and Human Rights

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