Exploring various aspects of social work from an anthropological perspective, this original book uses an ‘outsider’ position to develop a reflexive dialogue with social workers from England and elsewhere in Europe. Bell, an anthropologist, worked alongside social work educators and social workers for many years. She widens our insights into social work, offering thought-provoking examples suggesting how social work practitioners view their occupation and their practice, and how wider society views them. Blending research and personal reflection to critically examine social workers’ preoccupations and contributions to society, the author explores identities and definitions in social work, making this book refreshing reading for academics, researchers, students and practitioners.
“A unique anthropological approach that explores the diversity of social work and the intricate processes that motivate and shape people into social workers.” Marek Perlinski, Umeå University
"Of great value to anyone who wants to engage in serious reflection on what it means to be a social worker, including prospective and practicing social workers." John Chandler, University of East London
Linda Bell is an anthropologist and retired Associate Professor, now a Research Fellow and Visiting Academic in the School of Health and Education, Middlesex University.
Who are “social workers”? Why do we need them? Getting involved: an auto-ethnographic enquiry;
Time and change : UK social work and comparative social work cultures since 1990;
Becoming: being admitted, trained and accepted as a social worker;
Identifying: professional identity/ies;
Valuing and transgressing: practice and research values, and ‘becoming unfit’ to practice;
Practising and relating: Social workers and relationships;
Partnering: Social workers, other professionals and clients/ service users;
Knowing and evidencing: building a research base, mapping and modelling;
Symbolising: cultural representations in theory and in practice;
Organising: the development of national and international associations;
Changing: Social work and the public, anthropological reflections & conclusions on an ever changing profession – the future?