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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Key Concepts and Theory in Social Work

ISBN 9781137487834
Publication Date June 2017
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Social work is a discipline committed to social justice and human rights, and to improving the well—being of individuals, families, communities and societies. But the world is changing, with environmental disasters, an increase in violent conflict and the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis impacting negatively on human and ecological well-being. Social workers are often working at the forefront of these and other challenging situations, and they must apply knowledge and skills to their practice in a thoughtful and ethical way. What kind of knowledge and skills will social workers need to succeed in this intellectually and emotionally demanding job?


Broad-ranging in scope and depth, this highly readable text introduces readers to the key concepts in social work – such as empathy, reflective practice and notions of risk – and provides both a focus on the theory and research literature that informs each one, and an examination of how each will aid practitioners in their day-to-day work. With the help of engaging practice examples that contextualize the topics under discussion, the book also draws on ideas and literature from other disciplines – including philosophy, sociology and psychology – in order to promote the open-mindedness and depth of understanding required for practice with people from all walks of life.


An accessible text that brings all of the major social work concepts together in one place, Key Concepts and Theory in Social Work is an essential book for students and practitioners alike.

David Hodgson and Lynelle Watts are senior lecturers in social work in the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University, Australia.

1. Introduction
2. Theory and Practice
3. Risk
4. Power
5. Poverty and Disadvantage
6. Difference
7. Respect and Dignity
8. Social Justice and Fairness
9. Human Rights
10. Spirituality and Hope
11. Organisational Contexts
12. Empathy
13. Professional Judgement and Decision-Making
14. Assessment
15. Reflexivity, Reflective Practice and Critical Reflection.


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