Contemporary Social Work Theory and Issues Essay

Assignment Title

To what extent can societal work be adequately conceptually understood in footings of a place at the interface between societal exclusion and societal inclusion?

To what extent can societal work be adequately conceptually understood in footings of a place at the interface between societal exclusion and societal inclusion?

Harmonizing to the International Federation of Social Workers ( IFSW ) the societal work profession ‘promotes the authorization and release of people to heighten well-being. Using theories of human behavior and societal systems. societal work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments’ ( IFSW. 2000 ) . However the societal work function is questioned. in both its operational attack. and in footings of where it is positioned at the interface of persons that are excluded and included within today’s society. This essay will take. utilizing relevant theories and constructs. to supply the sentiment of the writer. sing their impression of how the societal work function is delivered. and furthermore. hold on an apprehension of where this function is located. either working with the socially excluded or tilting towards the construct of inclusion.

The term societal exclusion was coined in France by Rene Lenoir in 1974. ( Gore. 1995. Silver. 1995. Haan. 1998. cited in Islam. 2005: 4 ) and. in his sentiment. referred to people who were omitted from employment-based societal security systems. His mention to the excluded consisted of the ‘mentally and physically handicapped. self-destructive people. aged persons. abused kids. drug nuts. delinquents. individual parents. multi-problem families. fringy asocial individuals and other societal misfits’ ( Silver. 1994-95: 532 ) . Social exclusion did non replace poorness as a construct but referred to the ‘broader procedure of societal decomposition – an increasing rupture of the bond between the person and society’ ( Islam. 2005: 4 ) . As Lenoir suggests. societal exclusion transpires in many signifiers ; race. poorness and want. employment. and category. and retains varied definitions.

Harmonizing to Sheppard ( 2006 ) . the best definition that provides an apprehension of all the dimensions of societal exclusion was submitted by the Child Poverty Action Group ( Walker and Walker. 1997. cited in Sheppard. 2006 ) ‘social exclusion refers to the dynamic procedure of being shut out. to the full or partly. from any of the societal. economic. political and cultural systems which determine the societal integrating of society’ . However. the theoretical account of ‘social exclusion’ has merely been in usage in the UK for a comparatively short clip. and its extended pattern could bespeak that it ‘describes a phenomenon that already existed. but lacked a suited name’ ( Page 2000: 4 ) . Marx. for illustration. refers to the ‘underclasses in modern-day capitalist society. Harmonizing to Marx members of the labor are compelled to sell their labour power to the middle class in order to ‘attain for themselves the agencies to their ain subsistence’ ( Ashley and Orenstein. 1998 ) .

Marx was cognizant of the growing of the in-between categories. situated at the interface of labor on the one side and the middle class on the other. therefore increasing the security and power of the upper category. Subsequently this produced a different division of the on the job category. Marx’s ‘lumpenproletariat’ . for illustration ; the migratory population. the indigents. the unemployed and those in poorness and want. persons that today would be the termed ‘socially excluded’ . Harmonizing to Marx. category constructions are primary in finding the chief societal categories. the focal signifiers of battle within societies. and the life experiences of people in these categories. However. secondary signifiers of inequality and subjugation occur within each category. and these may take the signifier of racial and cultural inequalities. or gender inequalities. Marxist women’s rightists argue that. ‘within any category. adult females are less advantaged than work forces in their entree to material goods. power. position. and possibilities for self-actualisation and the causes of this inequality prevarication in the administration of capitalist economy itself’ ( Ritzier. 1992: 468-9 ) .

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. However. as Marxist theory distillations on category division. and is concentrated on the macro degree merely. this position of Social Work’s place at the interface of exclusion and inclusion is non conclusive. The Social Worker would be seen as working more in line with the ‘lumpenproletariat’ and non supplying services to the ‘proletariat’ and surely non the ‘bourgeoisie’ . hence topographic points societal work at the bosom of the excluded and non the included. Furthermore as societal work from the Marxist position. is placed steadfastly within the macro degree. the individuality and individual centred attack that the societal worker aims to supply the client can non be fulfilled. as to make so would intend to be working at the micro degree which the Marxist position price reductions. The Functionalist stance citing the construct of societal exclusion is to depict a group. or groups. of people who are excluded from the normal activities of their society in multiple ways. therefore diverting from their societies ‘norms’ of behavior ( Sheppard. 2006 ) .

A functionalist position of societal exclusion is. hence. focussed upon the excluded individuals being aberrant and non- conforming to societal norms. However. unlike the Marxist position. the Functionalist would concentrate on the societal worker operational on the macro and the micro degree. working with the person. and besides taking the clients wider societal systems in to account. for illustration ; household. friends. school and working environment. Emile Durkheim ( 1858-1917 ) . and subsequently Talcott Parsons ( 1951 ) . suggests that societies were societal ‘systems’ . made up of interconnected societal elements. and that these systems were ‘moral’ entities. Durkheim and Parsons argue that all human associations give rise to outlooks in forms of behavior. therefore bring forthing limitations on how a individual should or shouldn’t behave. Hence emerges ‘collective consciousness’ which. in bend. constrains an person and obliges them to move in peculiar ways ( Cuff. Sharrock and Francis. 1992 ) .

One manner is that norms ‘effectively discipline persons above all through their moral authorization. comparatively independent of any instrumentally important effects of conformance with them’ ( Parsons 1951. p. 37 ) . The other is that there is a inclination for persons to ‘develop and keep fond regard to the same incorporate system of norms and to happen solidarity in the chase of shared goals’ ( Parsons 1934: 295. Peacock 1976: 265 ) . The Functionalist. therefore. would propose that societal work is really much concerned with the perverts in society. the persons that do non conform to society’s norms. However this impression excessively could be contested. as. if the societal work profession concerns itself with the perverts of society. the client could be at hazard from labelling and of being farther excluded by the societal worker themselves.

Sheppard ( 2006 ) . asserts that societal work is. in fact. exclusionary and that societal workers ‘ can non prosecute in integrating and inclusion because its unconditioned maps involve labelling and marginalizing people’ ( Sheppard. 2006 ) . Functionalism besides neglects the negative maps of an event. such as divorce. and does non promote people to take an active function in altering their societal environment. even when such alteration may profit them. Conflict Theory besides sees society as a societal system. but unlike Functionalism who perceives society held together by societal consensus or coherence. Conflict Theory interprets society as held together through struggle and coercion. From this position. society is made up by viing involvement groups. some more powerful than others ( Andersen and Taylor. 2008 ) . When Conflict Theorists look at society. they see the societal domination of subsidiary groups through the power. authorization. and coercion of dominant groups. Randall Collins ( 1941 ) suggests that power and position are cardinal relational dimensions at the micro degree of societal interaction and possibly at the macro degree every bit good.

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Collins concludes that coercion and the ability to coerce others to act a certain manner are the primary footing of struggle in society ( Turner. 2000 ) . Therefore in the struggle position. the elect members of the dominant groups create the regulations for success and chance in society. frequently denying low-level groups such success and chances. therefore bring forthing societal division. and making societal exclusion. at the macro and the micro degrees of society. In contrast to the struggle position. the strengths attack dressed ores on edifice clients strong points in order for them to go sceptered and initiate societal alteration. Cowger and Snively ( 2001 ) favour the empowerment position as ‘central to societal work pattern. and see client strengths as supplying the fuel and energy for that empowerment’ ( Miley et al. 2004:91 ) .

Authorization can be defined as ‘a concept that links single strengths and competences. natural assisting systems. and proactive behaviors to societal policy and societal change’ ( Rappaport. 1981. cited in Zimmerman. 1995: 569 ) . However if the societal worker is operational more within the context of authorising the socially excluded. instead than the included. what of the power and authorization that a societal worker holds over the client as an agent of societal control? Furthermore. if a societal workers function involves authorising the client to take control of their ain lives. how does the power transportation from the important figure of the societal worker. to the deprived. socially excluded client? Indeed. would the client want to be empowered. or be able to keep rational idea. capacity. to be unfastened to empowerment? Rojek ( 1989 ) argues that authorising clients to concentrate on capacity edifice and non in doing alterations straight to the oppressive societal constructions impacting the client. topographic points duty on the client to alter whilst still confronting societal obstructions.

Therefore. for the societal worker to efficaciously pattern authorization. the client is presumed to hold equal rational capacity. and have merely one hazard factor act uponing their lives. This is hard. as. from researching this essay. it has become evident. that the socially excluded persons that societal work operates with. has more than one disadvantage. job. or need that they require support to get by with. Possibly the term enablement would be more fitting than the harsh. power/powerless construct of authorization and later. that the societal workers function should concentrate on keeping the client Harmonizing to Davies ( 1994: 58 ) ‘the societal worker is lending to the care of society. by exerting control over aberrant members. whilst allocating resources harmonizing to policies laid down by the province. on an single basis’ . This consensus attack ‘analyses structural inequalities in society and the function of societal work in relation to such inequalities’ ( Lishman. 2005: 70 ) .

Davies thought of care of the person. and. hence society. is simplistic. and. by utilizing the term ‘maintain’ instead than ‘change’ . dominates a proper construct of societal work’ ( Sheppard. 2006 ) . However the extremist societal worker would dismiss Davies impression of care as they perceive the province as functioning peculiar dominant involvements and hence can non play a impersonal. human-centered function in regard to vulnerable. disadvantaged. socially excluded people. They would reason that societal workers utilizing the care function. with regard to province policies. will commit inequality and its associated subjugations. disadvantages and stigma. Radicalists distinguish that societal workers need to understand the nature of province power. and the function of societal work as an component of province control and subjugation ( Lishman. 2005 ) .

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If this is the instance. and the societal worker is operational in the signifier of an agent of societal control. whilst keeping the power and control over the client. may really be estranging them farther from society. Additionally. as the extremist position. alongside Marxism. focal points on the category differences in society. it fails to take into history the multiple and changing subjugation and disadvantage which operate in British Contemporary Society. Harmonizing to Langham and Lee ( 1989: 9 ) extremist societal work texts and pattern led to the failure to ‘recognise the systematic denial of power to adult females and black people and failed to recognize inequality originating from gender. disablement or age’ .

There is much argument and confusion in mention to the definition of societal work. and even more deliberation refering the function of the societal worker and of its operational place in today’s society. Taking into history. positions from the Marxist. Radical and Functionalist positions. it has been the focal point of this essay to make up one’s mind upon the place of societal work at the interface of societal exclusion and societal inclusion. It is of the author’s sentiment. that societal work should execute a care function. working with socially excluded persons. The impression of being an agent of societal control is non really appealing. as it makes the societal worker an authorization figure. which clients would happen oppressive. It doesn’t affair if the client is aberrant or a conformist. the societal worker should stay non-judgemental and concentrate on enabling and keeping them to derive independency and better their lives.

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