RADICAL SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL ACTION
SOCIAL WORK SEMINAR PAPER
BASW FINAL YEAR STUDENT
ROLL NO. 07
SCHOOL OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT
TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
RADICAL SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL ACTION
“There are no rules for revolution any more than there are rules for love or rules for happiness, but there are rules for radicals who want to change their world”………… Saul D. Alinsky, 1971. Above statement has the key to change the existing Indian society. In India, different social movements are going on against the politics of neoliberalism. This paper examines the difference between radical social work and social movements. This paper also reflects upon the ongoing movements and also criticizes social work practice. Managerial perspective to social distress created as a result of neoliberal policies. The paper has also tries to reconcile social action and radical social work theory. As the writer is a student social worker, he tries to reflect upon his own experience of field work, theory and voluntary work.
Contemporary social work practice struggled with inability to tackle the social issues which are related with structure and power dynamics of society. Social work uses psychoanalytical theory (case work), group work and community work to settle the existing problems which are created either by state or by capitalist class. Anti capitalists’ movement, human rights movements showed the inability of social work methods and processes to affect existing system because in these movements radical/critical approach of social work practiced. It is not that social workers should be demoralized by inability of his/her profession but they should take some radical approach rather than only doing social action with only integrating marginalized sections, tribal and poor of the society. Because these social action failed due to insufficiency of resources and powers while protesting against the state and capitalist class. Therefore in this paper I tried to analyze and criticize the present situation of society and also tried to find solution that can works in present time.
Definition of Social Work:
The social work promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance wellbeing. Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. (Quoted by Harashima, 2005) As the above definition is not talking about complete social change but it promotes the change means somewhere it plays a role of agent for societal change. The terms like empowerment, promotion, capacity building, awareness, skill development etc. are frequently used terms in social work besides that they are not questioning the society to change. Our approach is like preventive and curative within system and not like radical change in the structure of the society.
Social Work- Adjustment or Change?
Social work, both as a body of knowledge and as a sphere of activity, has developed its theory and practice from other social sciences. The influence in particular of psychology has led to an over emphasis on pathological and clinical orientations to the loss of structural and political implications. Training schools have tended to defend traditional social work practice, in particular the dominant mode of social intervention known as casework. Where critical debate has arisen, it has been reformist rather than radical, and has been concerned with method. The political, social and ideological place of social work has never been satisfactorily discussed, nor has its possible exploitation as an agent of social control been taken seriously. Social work has consequently failed to develop the self criticism of other established disciplines and...
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