Policy Press

What is professional social work?

By Malcolm Payne


Jul 26, 2006

Page count

232 pages


2nd Edition

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BASW/Policy Press titles




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
What is professional social work?

What is Professional Social Work? is a now classic analysis of social work as a discourse between three aspects of practice: social order, therapeutic and transformational perspectives. It enables social workers to analyse and value the role of social work in present-day multiprofessional social care.

This completely re-written second edition explores social work's struggle to meet its claim to achieve social progress through interpersonal practice. Important features of this new edition include:

§ practical ways of analysing personal professional identity

§ understanding how social workers embody their profession in their practice with other professionals

§ detailed analysis of current and historical documents defining social work and social care analysis of values, agencies and global social work.

This new edition will stimulate social workers, students and policy-makers in social care to think again about the valuable role social work plays in society.

"Payne's book contains a wealth of knowledge and thought provoking discussion to stimulate a timely rekindling of debate about the nature of social work." Community Care

Review of first edition:

"This book is the best available general description of the increasingly complex environments the modern social worker operates in, and the roles that have to be taken on. The analysis will be extremely useful for students and indeed for practitioners who feel adrift from a value base." Community Care

Review of first edition:

"Of great interest both for professionals, for educators in social work and for scientists who want to develop knowledge in, about and for social work. I recommend this book to all interested in a better understanding of social work, both as an academic activity and as a profession." Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare

Review of the first edition:

"The book presents an overview which should be useful particularly for students on post-qualifying social work courses." Professional Social Work

"This book is well-informed and wide-ranging, strong on historical and international perspectives, has conceptual clarity and creativeness, and a topical, contemporary relevance. In other words, it is the type of text that should be the foundation of the new social work degree, challenging and informing our thinking." PLUS, Nov 2006

"The author is outstanding in his ability to write fluently, compassionately and with a depth of understanding informed by unsurpassed knowledge of his field. What is professional social work? fills a notable gap in the literature, namely by providing an accessible entry into debates about the nature and standing of social work as a profession." Robert Adams, Professor of Social Work, School of Health and Social Care, University of Teeside, UK

Malcolm Payne is Director, Psycho-social and Spiritual Care, St Christopher's Hospice, London, Emeritus Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University and Honorary Professor, Kingston University/St George's Medical School. Read his blog at http://blogs.stchristophers.org.uk

Contents: Introduction: the social work discourse; The identity of social work; Social work as a practice; Social work values: social justice and social care; Social work, management and the agency; Social work, power and society; Social work: profession among professions; Social works: global and local; Social work: (inter)personal, political and professional.

CUSTOMERS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA: Copies of this title are available from Lyceum Publishing, www.lyceumbooks.com