Essay: In what ways do the historical origins of social work influence the current profession in Ireland? In order to provide an in-depth discussion on how the historical origins of social work have influenced the current nature of the profession in Ireland, it is important for me to provide a specific understanding of what the term denotes. Defined by Smale, Tuson and Statham (2000; 5), ‘social work is about the interventions made to change social situations so that people who need support or are at risk can have their needs met more appropriately than if no intervention were made’. Morales and Sheafor (1977) state that ‘professional social workers are dedicated to service for the welfare and self-realisation of human beings; to the disciplined use of scientific knowledge regarding human and societal behaviour, to the development of resources to meet individual, group, national and international needs and aspirations; and to the achievement of social justice’. Many individuals, other than field social workers and including all those who work in residential, day care and domiciliary care, otherwise known as social care or care workers are all involved in different types of social work. The Emergence of Social Work
According to Sheldon and Macdonald (2009, p.19), ‘the term ‘social work’ was first used in Britain at the end of the nineteenth century’. During this era, people practiced social work in an attempt to establish more realistic ways of overcoming social distress as opposed to relying on traditional forms of charity work and philanthropy. Skehill (1999) and Darling (1972) state that Irish social work shares many traditional aspirations of social work elsewhere, such as in Britain and Finland and has been influenced by such countries. However, it is also shaped by the particular nature of Ireland’s society and by key political processes within the country over the past centuries. Albeit Ireland ‘industrialising’ at a different rate in comparison to...
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