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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Theorizing Practice

A Guide for the People Professions

Edition 2nd Edition
ISBN 9781137609519
Publication Date March 2017
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Theory and practice are two sides of the same coin: they are inextricably linked. In this second edition of his classic text, Neil Thompson revisits the crucial topic of integrating theory and practice – this time, widening his scope to explore the importance of informed practice not just in social work, but across the full range of human services: from nursing and counselling to youth work, community studies and beyond.


Thoroughly revised and updated, the new edition uses detailed explanations, practitioner quotes and engaging practice examples to guide the reader through the process of ‘theorizing practice’. With his peerless clarity and flair for tackling advanced concepts in an accessible way, Thompson critically discusses the approaches and perspectives of the numerous human services, including postmodernism, morality and organizational culture, and brings particular focus to the role of existentialism in understanding the challenges of contemporary practice.


This important new edition provides much-needed food for thought about the complexities of theory and practice, and is sure to provide fresh inspiration to professionals and students alike.

Professor Neil Thompson is a highly respected writer and developer of online learning resources, with nearly 40 years' experience in the people professions. He has held full or honorary professorships at four UK universities and is currently visiting professor at Wrexham Glyndŵr University in Wales where he is involved in running the MSc Advanced Practice in the Human Services online programme. He also runs the Avenue Professional Development Programme, an online learning community and tutorial group for people professionals. Connect with Neil online at www.neilthompson.info.

1. The Role of Theory
2. Theory and Postmodernism
3. Shaping Practice
4. The Person
5. Interpersonal Interactions
6. Group Dynamics and Intergroup Relations
7. Cultural Contexts
8. Sociopolitical Structures and Processes
9. The Organizational Context
10. Morality and Ideology
11. Developing Coherence: Drawing on Existentialism
12. The Linguistic Turn
13. Spirituality and Meaning
14. Developing Emancipatory Practice
15. The Challenges We Face.


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