Theories and Pratice

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Theory and practice in human services

Theory and practice in human services Neil Thompson

Open University Press Buckingham . Philadelphia

Open University Press Celtic Court 22 Ballmoor Buckingham MK18 1XW e-mail: enquiries@openup.co.uk world wide web: http://www.openup.co.uk and 325 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA First published in 1995 as Theory and Practice in Health and Social Welfare Reprinted in 1995, 1996 and 1998 First published in this edition 2000 Copyright # Neil Thompson 2000 All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purpose of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence from the Copyright Licensing Agency Limited. Details of such licences (for reprographic reproduction) may be obtained from the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd of 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1P 9HE. A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library ISBN 0 335 20425 2 (pbk) 0 335 20426 0 (hbk)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Thompson, Neil. 1955± Theory and practice in human services / Neil Thompson. p. cm. Rev. ed. of: Theory and practice in health and social welfare. 1995. Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 0-335-20426-0 (HB). ISBN 0-335-20425-2 (PB) 1. Social serviceÐResearch. 2. Human servicesÐResearch. 3. Social serviceÐPhilosophy. 4. Human servicesÐPhilosophy. 5. Social work education. I. Thompson, Neil. 1955± Theory and practice in health and social welfare. II. Title. HV11.T52 2000 361.007±dc21 99-37620 CIP Typeset by Type Study, Scarborough Printed in Great Britain by St Edmundsbury Press, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Contents

Preface to the ®rst edition (then entitled Theory and Practice in Health and Social Welfare) Preface to the second edition Acknowledgements Introduction 1 Theory and practice: thinking and doing Chapter overview Introduction Learning from experience Professionalism Anti-discriminatory practice Power, ideology and values Power Ideology Values The value of research Conclusion Food for thought What is theory? Chapter overview Introduction Frameworks of understanding Stage 1: The problematic Stage 2: The model Stage 3: Theories Types and levels of theory The importance of theory Anti-discriminatory practice

xi xiii xv 1 4 4 4 5 7 10 14 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 21 21 22 22 22 23 25 30 31

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Theory and practice in human services

The fallacy of theoryless practice Evaluation Continuous professional development Professional accountability Inappropriate responses The bias of theory Evaluating theories Reductionism Essentialism Rei®cation Teleology The mystique of theory Conclusion Food for thought 3 Science and research Chapter overview Introduction The critique of positivism Universal laws Objectivity Value-free science Empirical research The distinctiveness of social science Alternatives to positivism Hermeneutical science Critical theory Postmodernism The role of research Types of research Research criteria Validity Reliability Rigour Objectivity Explanatory power The limitations of research Conclusion: research-minded practice Food for thought The philosophical basis Chapter overview Introduction What is philosophy? Beyond eclecticism Dialectical reason

32 33 34 35 35 36 38 38 38 38 39 39 41 42 43 43 43 44 45 45 46 48 49 50 51 52 53 53 55 57 57 57 58 58 58 59 60 62 63 63 63 64 67 68

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Postmodernism Fragmentation Logocentrism Differance  Af®rmation of diversity Existentialism Lived experience Existentialist practice Conclusion Food for thought 5 Narrowing the gap Chapter overview Introduction Why does a gap exist? Developing re¯ective practice Beyond re¯ection Integrating theory and practice Strategies for integration Using...
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