Intoruction to social work and philosophy of social work by-imran ahmad sajid


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Presentation delivered in class at the Department of Social Work, University of Peshawar in 2010.

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Intoruction to social work and philosophy of social work by-imran ahmad sajid

  1. 1. Introduction to Social Work Profession and Its Philosophical-Base Imran Ahmad Sajid 18 Feb 2011 Ph.D. Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, University of Peshawar . Email: [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Social Work is an enabling profession, which empowers people to change the way of their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work is a Professional Activity that aims to assist people in overcoming serious difficulties in their lives by offering care, protection and counseling. (C. Henry and Philpot.[e.d.1994]) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Answer these Questions? <ul><li>Do you imagine any society without human sufferings? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you imagine any society where all members are young and there is no old-age problem? </li></ul><ul><li>All members are healthy and wealthy? </li></ul><ul><li>All members have their needs satisfied? </li></ul><ul><li>A society where there is no stratification? </li></ul><ul><li>A society where there is no discrimination and prejudice? </li></ul><ul><li>A society where there is no poverty? </li></ul><ul><li>Where every body is rich? </li></ul><ul><li>Where everybody is educated? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Definitely <ul><li>NO </li></ul>
  5. 5. Because, Human Societies are not Perfect <ul><li>Social Problems emerge in human societies which require humane solution. </li></ul><ul><li>& </li></ul><ul><li>Human Needs arise that must be satisfied. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Now Answer these Questions? <ul><li>Are you offended when you see poor picking their food from garbage? </li></ul><ul><li>When you see poor fighting over a bag of floor or rice? </li></ul><ul><li>When you see illness and disease go untreated because health care is not affordable and efficient? </li></ul><ul><li>When you see children addicted to drugs? </li></ul><ul><li>When children beg in the streets, chowks and parks? </li></ul><ul><li>When the deserving candidates do not get job? </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Are you willing to confront realities of social problems and human needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you concerned with the plight of the many who experience hardships of poverty and the tears of hunger and pain? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want to be involved in shaping a society that strives to ensure a high quality of life and social justice for all social members? </li></ul>
  8. 8. If YES, then <ul><li>WELCOME TO </li></ul><ul><li>THE PROFESSION OF SOCIAL WORK </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Social Work Profession is charged with fulfilling the Social Welfare’s mandate of promoting well-being and quality of life . </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, </li></ul><ul><li>Social work encompasses professional activities directed towards improving human and social conditions and alleviating human distress and social problems. </li></ul>
  10. 10. IFSW and IFSSW 2000 <ul><li>Social Work Profession promotes social change, </li></ul><ul><li>problem-solving in human relationships, </li></ul><ul><li>the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizing theories of human behaviour and social system. </li></ul><ul><li>Social work intervenes at the point where people interact with their environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Philosophical-Base of Social Work
  12. 12. Social Work is said to be a Helping profession, BUT……? <ul><li>Why do we help people? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we social workers care for people? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we rehabilitate drug addicts, alcoholic addicts? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we work for poverty alleviation? </li></ul><ul><li>Why we promote social policy and social change? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we empower people? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we work for people’s well-being? </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Answering these question will lead you to your philosophical base of social work. Because, </li></ul><ul><li>What makes us do all what we do as a social worker? </li></ul><ul><li>What are our fundamental beliefs and principles which guides our behaviour and makes us do what we do? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we strengthen people’s social functioning? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we enhance social environment? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Philosophy is, <ul><li>the beliefs and principles underlying any department of knowledge [Oxford Dictionary]. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy is the study of truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct [Quartz Hill School of Theology]. </li></ul><ul><li>A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school [Princeton University WordNet]. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Thus it is clear that the concept of philosophy is grounded in the understanding that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>there are truths ( سچاءیی ) and principles ( اصول ) of our existence and that these truths are accepted by us as well as others. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can have a set of truths and principles that guide us in how we conduct ourselves and define what we expect from others. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Philosophical-Base of Social Work <ul><li>Social Work as a discipline focuses on theoretical and philosophical positions such as Social Justice, Equality, and Empowerment. </li></ul><ul><li>These can be described as Philosophies of Social Work. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, </li></ul><ul><li>Are these really “philosophies of social work” or theories and concepts that guide the field, actions, and behaviours? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Lets Investigate My Philosophy of Social Work <ul><li>My philosophy of social work is grounded upon the concepts of [and I work toward] Social Justice, Empowerment, and Equal Access to all societal members. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT, to do so I need to employ effective knowledge, techniques, and strategies. </li></ul>
  18. 18. 1. Social Justice <ul><li>Rawl’s Theory of Justice </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of Veil of Ignorance </li></ul><ul><li>From under the VOI, a person would choose two (2) central principles; </li></ul><ul><li>All people are entitled to basic rights; & </li></ul><ul><li>It is unjust to maintain inequalities between people. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>All social primary goods are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution is to the advantage of everyone (Rawl: A Theory of Justice). . </li></ul><ul><li>If I found inequality leading to further disadvantage of some members of the society, this is where I feel I must begin my work. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>I ask my self, what would be the socially just approach to meeting the needs of people worst-off among us? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I create equality? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I foster understanding and acceptance? </li></ul><ul><li>But having a sense of what social justice is and how to promote it still fails to provide those in need of a mechanism to facilitate power within and among them. </li></ul><ul><li>There needs to be a process whereby action can be taken. </li></ul>
  21. 21. 2. Empowerment <ul><li>[Empowerment is] the process of increasing personal, interpersonal, or political power so that individuals, families, and communities can take action to improve their situations (Gutierrez, 1994). </li></ul><ul><li>To empower means; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To give somebody greater sense of confidence and self-esteem [Encarta]. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And to Authorise somebody [Oxford]. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Askheim says, <ul><li>Although empowerment is a main objective for social welfare policy and practice, it is also a complicated mix of granting power to service consumers and at the same time, retaining power as service providers . </li></ul>
  23. 23. To understand empowerment, Note that… <ul><li>To empower is to Relinquish Power. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Workers are criticized for being both, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Advocates and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Controllers . </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. As Advocates <ul><li>We focus on Power Issues and </li></ul><ul><li>Argue that social problems are largely borne out of inequitable distributions of authority. </li></ul><ul><li>We see the lack of power as the culprit of oppression. </li></ul>
  25. 25. As Controllers <ul><li>We focus on deviance and seek to maintain harmony between groups in society, thereby enforcing power we maintain. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Issue of Power <ul><li>It seems the issue of power is embedded in both the Society and the Social Work Profession. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we relinquish power when we recognize that sometimes, service consumers are unable to manage power granted to them? </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>The client’s right to self-determination has to be balanced against securing them against risks and dangers and their right to have an optimal quality of life. </li></ul><ul><li>So, Social Workers must recognize that they hold power and sometimes it must be retained—granting full power to consumers is neither reasonable nor possible. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>There is conflict between </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how to retain power and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how much to empower? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To empower, I must identify my own level of power and how to apply it? </li></ul><ul><li>Over-empowerment is also a possibility (which can lead to disempowerment of others). </li></ul>
  29. 29. 3. Michel Foucault’s Parrhesia <ul><li>Parrhesia means, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fearlessness, or boldness of speech. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The concept of Parrhesia focuses on the question of, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who among us has the right, duty, and courage to speak the truth? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fundamentally, we all do. But, many do not concretely recognize this as their right. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Social Workers are bound by the duty to speak out for people not empowered to speak for themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>If you do not have the right to free speech, you are unable to exercise any kind of power. </li></ul><ul><li>Without Parrhesia, you can not oppose power structure. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>How can social work be effective if people cannot exercise their right to free speech? </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, it is we, the social workers, who have a responsibility to educate people who are oppressed in the action of parrhesia. </li></ul><ul><li>Without parrhesia, the concept of justice, equality, and empowerment remains just those concepts—and lack concrete application in the real world. </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>So, Education is our tool to achieve this goal of moving positive forces of justice and equality forward. </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>From this position, </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work is viewed as EDUCATION, and education becomes power. </li></ul><ul><li>We do not “tell” a client what to do. </li></ul><ul><li>We inform, empower and educate. </li></ul>
  34. 34. BUT EMPOWERING IS HARD WORK <ul><li>Although the intention is good, but the process of empowerment often fails due to being long-term process. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Conclusion <ul><li>John Rawls “Veil of Ignorance” protects us from bias and against making decisions about others we would not otherwise want to be made about ourselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Askheim’s “Empowerment” provides an understanding about how and when to Grant and Retain power. </li></ul><ul><li>Michel Foucault’s Parrhesia provides a practical guide as to how to empower and promote social justice. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>My principles are social justice, equality and empowerment. </li></ul><ul><li>And to translate these principles into reality, I use Parrhesia as a tool of practice. </li></ul>