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Social workers spend their time trying to ease social suffering. They encounter the extreme casualties of social inequality: the victims of poverty, illness, addiction, and abuse; they work with abusers and offenders; and operate in the space between the State and the poor or marginalized. Social work is replete with vivid human stories: the troubled teenage boy who cannot settle in a foster home; the frail older woman who is desperate for social contact; the community seeking a way to tackle gang violence; the sex offender leaving prison; and the disputed territory of international adoption. Social work therefore holds a fundamental importance throughout the modern world. In this Very Short Introduction, Sally Holland and Jonathan Scourfield explain what social work is and look at its rich historical development. Reflecting international human stories of social problems and social work relationships, as well as the philosophies behind the practice and the evidence about what works throughout the world.
Oxford University Press
June 25, 2015
About the author
Jonathan Scourfield is Professor of Social Work at Cardiff University. His research covers child welfare, children's identities and suicide prevention and he also has a long-standing interest in social work with men. He teaches Masters and doctoral students in social work. Before becoming an academic he worked as a history teacher, a probation officer, and a group worker in a therapeutic community for people with drug and alcohol problems.