Sachita B Rudrapuri
Under the Guidance of
Prof. Ravindra D Gadkar
Malcolm Payne (born 13 June 1947),is a retired Polish-English academic and writer in the field of Social Work. He was director, psycho-social and spiritual care taker at St. Christopher’s Hospice. He had broad experience of social work having worked in probation, mental health, day care, social work and spiritual care. He is best known for his ‘Modern social work’ theory textbook.
He has authored many books which have contributed valuable knowledge to the field of social work. Most important among them are “Modern Social Work Theory”, “Social Work: Continuity and Change”, “Social Work and Community Care” and “What Is Professional Social Work?” and more.
The book “What Is Professional Social Work?” is a discourse on social work practice. It provides more extensive analysis about the historical development of the concept of social work and how it has dragged global attention. He has elaborated the developmental stages of social work practice into nine units. This book is exclusively updated and fully loaded with case studies in every chapter with author’s real field experiences.
In the first unit he describes that how social work has become a unique among similar professions; which has concern about the people and their problems. As the social construction and situation changes time to time, social workers also construct their own social work practice. He explains how the social workers act and role changes on the basis of 3 views i.e. therapeutic, social order and transformational which are constantly present in every society.
In the second unit he discussed about the identity of social work. How the concept of social work was introduced and the conceptual development of the term emerged in the western history. Social work’s identity is a modern phenomenon but is it has its roots at the end of 18th century. How it was working for the welfare of people as a psychiatrist, counselor, care givers, case worker etc. How the organized efforts were made to bring social change through interpersonal work are discussed in this chapter.
Third unit describes about the practice of social work. How the social work makes interventions in the lives of clients using communication skills, knowledge, process, use of self and values of practice. These accounts can be recast to different purposes other than caring, congruent, interpersonal help etc.
Fourth chapter focuses on social work values, social justice and social care. This attempts to create a moral social order for social work focusing on right based approach, rule based approach, code of ethics and various principle based values are center to many perspectives of what social work is about.
Fifth unit throws light on how social work is managed and rendered services through social welfare agencies. Author has systematically elaborated that how management, privatization, marketisation and enterprise have created a work culture in the present scenario. This agency management involves- Organizing volunteers, fund rising, teaching and training on social responsibilities to the staff, managing relationship with public which help, assist, guide, protects, rescue, rehabilitate, reform and bring changes in the lives of people. These agencies also face many management challenges in protection and decision making, risk managing, work and information flow, information technology and evidence based practice.
Sixth unit explains about how social work gets power to practice his profession by law, social work education, knowledge, professional authorities and by clients to achieve social change. In practical they face empowerment, power and authority problem to serve people. He argues that interaction of professional, legal, users’ and careers’, power is necessary to be able to act in this complex field of practice.
This chapter seven makes discussion about is social work a profession? The author gives his own life experience in the case study that how he got license from British authority to practice social work. He explains about various characteristics of a profession, whether social work fits into that criterion or not. How social work associations developed in the western country; efforts made by international agencies in recognizing social work and finally he explained why social work has not developed as a fully fledged profession compared to other professions. Finally he concludes social work as a semi profession.
Eighth chapter discusses about how social work was developed from local to international level. It responds in its practice not only the local issues, but also national and international issues. In response to this, many national and international associations, agencies, government and inter governmental efforts are made to work in various interested fields of social work worldwide.
In the ninth unit author discussed about the role of social work in the changing scenario. Social worker need to be creative, updated and highly skilled and must adoptable to the changing situations. He need to construct social work socially which can be created through social relations and it also influences the other practitioners also.
After reading this book we can conclude that this book is systematically designed which starts from the evolution of social work and ends with its global reorganization of the profession and present role of social worker. This book is written from the student point of view which gives in-depth information about social work practice sequentially.
The beauty of this book is the explanation of the contents. It is very easy to understand where author has used very simple English language with many relevant case studies, field experiences, diagrams and tables in clarifying various concepts which grabs the attention of a reader. It creates curiosity among readers about the case studies in forthcoming chapters.
The main drawback of this book is the author does not recognize the role of Charity Organization Society and Settlement house movements in the development of social work profession which has given scientific approach to social work practice.
In this view, the book is worth reading by every social work students; practitioners and educators.
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