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Social work is a democratic , value based humanitarian

profession. Critically examine this statement.


UPPSC -2012, Social work paper -1
By: Ujjwal Das
How to write a good answer in Social work ----Tips
In this small lecture ,I will try to tell you ..That how to write very nice
answers to any question whether it is social work ,public administration
,sociology etc etc. Hence first read the red mark paragraph and
understand that .

What, are the essentials of social work practice as a generic whole? What are
the kinds of problem with which it deals? What are the specific objectives it
seeks? What are its basic methods and skills? What is the philosophy on which
it operates? If you can answer this ..you can answer any question of social work
without any difficulty?

Basically the first problem faced by a candidate that how to begin writing
an answer and what should be the content of the answer .
Ans. First Define the statement ,then enlarge with expressions and extend
the core view , depends on what the question is asking ..Here Critically
examine means .you have to give .How and why .And end with a

The Question is all about defining


the philosophy and nature of social work ..
dynamic conclusion .

Now actually what examiner want to know from a candidate through this
Question .This question is simply A value based question..Defining the
values and elaborate with expressions and examples .
REMEMBER SOCIAL WORK IS HUMANE AND MORAL JOB ..HENCE EVERY
ANS SHOULD HAVE THAT TOUCH .

One of the difficulties we face in defining the area of general social work
practice, in terms of the kinds of problem with which it deals, is our use of the
broad and general term social as the only qualifying adjective to designate
our specific area of service. The word social has none of the precision of such
words as medical or legal, for instance, by which other areas of
professional practice are defined. It is obviously not enough to say that social
work treats social problems. For practically every life problem of every

individual in this modern world is, in reality, a social problem, in one sense
or another, and practically every organized undertaking in the world is a
social enterprise, in the sense that it involves and affects the social life and
relationships of people. It is clear that not all these social interests and
involvements of human beings can lie within the province of a single
profession.

Defination --The social work profession promotes social


change, problem solving in human relationships and the
empowerment and liberation of people to enhance wellbeing. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social
systems, social work intervenes at the points where people
interact with their environments. Principles of human rights
and social justice are fundamental to social work.

Social work in its various forms addresses the multiple,


complex transactions between people and their
environments. Its mission is to enable all people to
develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent
dysfunction. Professional social work is focused on
problem solving and change. As such, social workers are
change agents in society and in the lives of the
individuals, families and communities they serve. Social
work is an interrelated system of values, theory and
practice.
Humanitarian Approach ---Social work grew out of
humanitarian and democratic ideals, and its values are
based on respect for the equality, worth, and dignity of all
people. Since its beginnings over a century ago, social work
practice has focused on meeting human needs and
developing human potential. Human rights and social justice
serve as the motivation and justification for social work
action. In solidarity with those who are dis-advantaged, the
profession strives to alleviate poverty and to liberate
vulnerable and oppressed people in order to promote social
inclusion. Social work values are embodied in the

professions national and international codes of ethics.


Social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of
evidence-based knowledge derived from research and
practice evaluation, including local and indigenous
knowledge specific to its context. It recognises the
complexity of interactions between human beings and their
environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected
by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including
bio-psychosocial factors. The social work profession draws
on theories of human development and behaviour and social
systems to analyse complex situations and to facilitate
individual, organisational, social and cultural changes.
Social work addresses the barriers, inequities and injustices
that exist in society. It responds to crises and emergencies
as well as to everyday personal and social problems. Social
work utilises a variety of skills, techniques, and activities
consistent with its holistic focus on persons and their
environments. Social work interventions range from
primarily person-focused psychosocial processes to
involvement in social policy, planning and development.
These include counselling, clinical social work, group work,
social pedagogical work, and family treatment and therapy
as well as efforts to help people obtain services and
resources in the community. Interventions also include
agency administration, community organisation and
engaging in social and political action to impact social policy
and economic development. The holistic focus of social work
is universal, but the priorities of social work practice will
vary from country to country and from time to time
depending on cultural, historical, and socio-economic
conditions.

The social work profession promotes social change,


problem solving in human relationships and the
empowerment and liberation of people to enhance wellbeing. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social
systems, social work intervenes at the points where
people interact with their environments. Principles of

human rights and social justice are fundamental to social


work.
Social work in its various forms addresses the multiple,
complex transactions between people and their
environments. Its mission is to enable all people to
develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent
dysfunction. Professional social work is focused on
problem solving and change. As such, social workers are
change agents in society and in the lives of the
individuals, families and communities they serve. Social
work is an interrelated system of values, theory and
practice.
Social work bases its methodology on a systematic body
of evidence informed knowledge derived from research
and practice evaluation, including local and indigenous
knowledge specific to its context. It recognises the
complexity of interactions between human beings and
their environment, and the capacity of people both to be
affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them
including biopsychosocial factors. The social work
profession draws on theories of human development and
behaviour and social systems to analyse complex
situations and to facilitate individual, organisational,
social and cultural changes.
Social work practice addresses the barriers, inequities and
injusticesthat exist in society. It responds to crises and
emergencies as well as to everyday personal and social
problems. Social work utilises a variety of skills,
techniques, and activities consistent with its holistic focus
on persons and their environments. Social work
interventions range from primarily person-focused
psychosocial processes to involvement in social policy,
planning and development. These include counselling,
clinical social work, group work, social pedagogical work,
and family treatment and therapy as well as efforts to
help people obtain services and resources in the
community.

Interventions also include agency administration,


community organisation and engaging in social and
political action to impact social policy and economic
development. The holistic focus of social work is universal,
but the priorities of social work practice will vary from
country to country and from time to time depending on
cultural, historical, legal and socio-economic conditions.
It is understood that social work in the 21st century is
dynamic and evolving, and therefore no definition should
be regarded as exhaustive.
Human rights
Social work is based on respect for the inherent worth and
dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other
related UN declarations on rights and the conventions
derived from those declarations.
Principles
1 Upholding and promoting human dignity and well-being
-Social workers should respect, uphold and defend each
persons physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual
integrity and well-being. They should work towards
promoting the best interests of individuals and groups in
society and the avoidance of harm.
2 Respecting the right to selfdetermination--Social
workers should respect, promote and support peoples
dignity and right to make their own choices and decisions,
irrespective of their values and life choices, provided this
does not threaten the rights, safety and legitimate
interests of others.
3 Promoting the right to participation-- Social workers
should promote the full involvement and participation of
people using their services in ways that enable them to be

empowered in all aspects of decisions and actions


affecting their lives.
4 Treating each person as a whole --Social workers should
be concerned with the whole person, within the family,
community, societal and natural environments, and should
seek to recognise all aspects of a persons life.
5 Identifying and developing strengths--Social workers
should focus on the strengths of all individuals, groups
and communities and thus promote their empowerment.
Social justice
Social workers have a responsibility to promote social
justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to
the people with whom they work.
1 Challenging discrimination
Social workers have a responsibility to challenge
discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as
ability, age, culture, gender or sex, marital status, socioeconomic status, political opinions, skin colour, racial or
other physical characteristics, sexual orientation or
spiritual beliefs.
2 Recognising diversity
Social workers should recognise and respect the diversity
of the societies in which they practise, taking into account
individual, family, group and community differences.
3 Distributing resources
Social workers should ensure that resources at their
disposal are istributed fairly, according to need.
4 Challenging unjust policies and practices

Social workers have a duty to bring to the attention of


their employers, policy makers, politicians and the general
public situations where resources are inadequate or where
distribution of resources, policies and practice are
oppressive, unfair, harmful or illegal.
5 Working in solidarity
Social workers, individually, collectively and with others
have a duty to challenge social conditions that contribute
to social exclusion, stigmatisation or subjugation, and
work towards an inclusive society.

Social

work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that


promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the
empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human
rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to
social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences,
humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and
structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.
The social work professions core mandates include promoting social change, social
development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.
Social work is a practice profession and an academic discipline that recognizes that
interconnected historical, socio-economic, cultural, spatial, political and personal
factors serve as opportunities and/or barriers to human wellbeing and development.
Structural barriers contribute to the perpetuation of inequalities, discrimination,
exploitation and oppression. The development of critical consciousness through
reflecting on structural sources of oppression and/or privilege, on the basis of criteria
such as race, class, language, religion, gender, disability, culture and sexual orientation,
and developing action strategies towards addressing structural and personal barriers are
central to emancipatory practice where the goals are the empowerment and liberation of
people. In solidarity with those who are disadvantaged, the profession strives to alleviate
poverty, liberate the vulnerable and oppressed, and promote social inclusion and social
cohesion.
The social change mandate is based on the premise that social work intervention takes
place when the current situation, be this at the level of the person, family, small group,
community or society, is deemed to be in need of change and development. It is driven
by the need to challenge and change those structural conditions that contribute to
marginalization, social exclusion and oppression. Social change initiatives recognize the

place of human agency in advancing human rights and economic, environmental, and
social justice. The profession is equally committed to the maintenance of social stability,
insofar as such stability is not used to marginalize, exclude or oppress any particular
group of persons.
Social development is conceptualized to mean strategies for intervention, desired end
states and a policy framework, the latter in addition to the more popular residual and
the institutional frameworks. It is based on holistic biopsychosocial, spiritual
assessments and interventions that transcend the micro-macro divide, incorporating
multiple system levels and inter-sectorial and inter-professional collaboration, aimed at
sustainable development. It prioritizes socio-structural and economic development, and
does not subscribe to conventional wisdom that economic growth is a prerequisite for
social development.
PRINCIPLES
The overarching principles of social work are respect for the inherent worth and dignity
of human beings, doing no harm, respect for diversity and upholding human rights and
social justice.
Advocating and upholding human rights and social justice is the motivation and
justification for social work. The social work profession recognizes that human rights
need to coexist alongside collective responsibility. The idea of collective responsibility
highlights the reality that individual human rights can only be realized on a day-to-day
basis if people take responsibility for each other and the environment, and the
importance of creating reciprocal relationships within communities. Therefore a major
focus of social work is to advocate for the rights of people at all levels, and to facilitate
outcomes where people take responsibility for each others wellbeing, realize and respect
the inter-dependence among people and between people and the environment.
Social work embraces first, second and third generation rights. First generation rights
refer to civil and political rights such as free speech and conscience and freedom from
torture and arbitrary detention; second generation to socio-economic and cultural rights
that include the rights to reasonable levels of education, healthcare, and housing and
minority language rights; and third generation rights focus on the natural world and the
right to species biodiversity and inter-generational equity. These rights are mutually
reinforcing and interdependent, and accommodate both individual and collective rights.
In some instances doing no harm and respect for diversity may represent conflicting
and competing values, for example where in the name of culture the rights, including
the right to life, of groups such as women and homosexuals, are violated. The Global
Standards for Social Work Education and Training deals with this complex issue by
advocating that social workers are schooled in a basic human rights approach, with an
explanatory note that reads as:
Such an approach might facilitate constructive confrontation and change where certain
cultural beliefs, values and traditions violate peoples basic human rights. As culture is
socially constructed and dynamic, it is subject to deconstruction and change. Such

constructive confrontation, deconstruction and change may be facilitated through a


tuning into, and an understanding of particular cultural values, beliefs and traditions
and via critical and reflective dialogue with members of the cultural group vis-vis broader human rights issues.
KNOWLEDGE
Social work is both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, and draws on a wide array of
scientific theories and research. Science is understood in this context in its most basic
meaning as knowledge. Social work draws on its own constantly developing theoretical
foundation and research, as well as theories from other human sciences, including but
not limited to community development, social pedagogy, administration, anthropology,
ecology, economics, education, management, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, public
health, and sociology. The uniqueness of social work research and theories is that they
are applied and emancipatory. Much of social work research and theory is coconstructed with service users in an interactive, dialogic process and therefore informed
by specific practice environments.
This proposed definition acknowledges that social work is informed not only by specific
practice environments and Western theories, but also by indigenous knowledges. Part
of the legacy of colonialism is that Western theories and knowledges have been
exclusively valorised, and indigenous knowledges have been devalued, discounted, and
hegemonised by Western theories and knowledge.
Social works legitimacy and mandate lie in its intervention at the points where people
interact with their environment. The environment includes the various social systems
that people are embedded in and the natural, geographic environment, which has a
profound influence on the lives of people. The participatory methodology advocated in
social work is reflected in Engages people and structures to address life challenges and
enhance wellbeing. As far as possible social work supports working with rather than for
people. Consistent with the social development paradigm, social workers utilize a range
of skills, techniques, strategies, principles and activities at various system levels,
directed at system maintenance and/or system change efforts. Social work practice
spans a range of activities including various forms of therapy and counseling, group
work, and community work; policy formulation and analysis; and advocacy and political
interventions. From an emancipatory perspective, that this definition supports social
work strategies are aimed at increasing peoples hope, self-esteem and creative potential
to confront and challenge oppressive power dynamics and structural sources of
injustices, thus incorporating into a coherent whole the micro-macro, personal-political
dimension of intervention. The holistic focus of social work is universal, but the
priorities of social work practice will vary from one country to the next, and from time to
time depending on historical, cultural, political and socio-economic conditions.

Critical examining starts here ..

One of the difficulties we face in defining the area of general social work
practice, in terms of the kinds of problem with which it deals, is our use of
the broad and general term social as the only qualifying adjective to
designate our specific area of service. The word social has none of the
precision of such words as medical or legal, for instance, by which other
areas of professional practice are defined. It is obviously not enough to say
that social work treats social problems. For practically every life problem
of every individual in this modern world is, in reality, a social problem, in
one sense or another, and practically every organized undertaking in the
world is a social enterprise, in the sense that it involves and affects the
social life and relationships of people. It is clear that not all these social
interests and involvements of human beings can lie within the province of a
single profession.
Nor does the addition of the word welfare to the word social do much to
clarify or to bound the area of our professional effort. For, in the ordinary
and logical use of language, the term welfare in this connection denotes
only a general purpose of action, which we as a profession share with many
other professions and groups in the community, but which we certainly do
not monopolize. For, whenever, in the course of daily living, people feel the
need and the impulse to apply some sort of deliberate direction to
otherwise intuitive social developments, with the conscious purpose of
making them serve more fully or more directly the needs of human beings
in their social relationships, social welfare enterprises come into being.
They may take any form, they may be concerned with any aspect of social
experience, they may seek to deal with any one or many of the social
problems people face.
Social work can and does appear, however, in any of these institutions or in
any other part of the social settingand this is the crux of the definition I
propose-whenever, in pursuit of a social welfare purpose, effort is applied
specifically and directly to facilitating the actual process by which people
are enabled and assisted to use these instrumentalities or any of the other
social relations open to them, for the more effectual fulfillment of their own
social well-being, within the framework of a stable society. The problems,
then, with which social work deals are not problems of social structure, as
such, nor of individual personality, as such. They are not definable in terms
of particular sets of circumstances or of particular forces or qualities, either
in the social environment or in people themselves, that may obstruct or

frustrate satisfying and fruitful social living. They are the problems which
people find in the actual process of adjustment to each other or to any part
or aspect of their social environment. That is to say, they are problems of
relationships.
So what are the solutions and what are the goals .
The common, specific objectives of social work practice must, of course, be related to these
focal problems. Its central objective, then, is to facilitate the actual process of social
adjustment of individual people, through the development and constructive use of social
relationships within which these human beings can find their own fulfillment and can
discharge adequately their social responsibilities. This objective may be sought through
helping individuals and groups of individuals to find satisfying and fruitful relations to and
within the social realities in which they are at the time involved. On the other hand, it may
be sought through facilitating the adaptation and modification of the larger environmental
arrangements and relationships upon which satisfying social adjustment of all human
beings depends. Commonly, both these avenues to the ultimate objective may be used at one
and the same time. In any case, the objective always remains the same-not in any particular
product or form of adjustment, but in the process of adjustment itself. The objective is not
to make over either the environment or the people involved in it, but rather to introduce and
sustain a process of dealing with the problems of social relationship and social adjustment,
which will enable and assist those involved in the problems to find solutions satisfying to
themselves and acceptable to the society of which they are a part.

Defining the philosophy ..The approach ahead .


The philosophy of social work shines forth in these objectives. It rests upon a profound faith
in human beings, in their inherent and inviolable right to choose and to achieve their own
destiny, through social relations of their own making, within the essential framework of a
stable and progressive society. It rests upon a deep appreciation of the validity and the value
to society as a whole, of these individual differences in human beings. In conceives of social
unity and progress as the outcome of the integration, not the suppression or conquest, of
these differences. Accordingly, it tests all social arrangements and institutions by their
impact upon individual lives, by their capacity to utilize for the common good the unique
potentialities of individual human beings, through relationships that enlist their active and
productive participation. It

is, in short, a genuinely and consistently


democratic philosophy. (This is the crux of the questionanswered )
Elaborating Ideas in detail Social work methods and skills exemplify this
philosophy in action. Social work, always and everywhere, is, in the first place, a helping, not
a controlling, function. It applies always the methods of cooperation, not of manipulation. It
offers a service, to be used by others if they need and want to use it; it does not use others,

or treat others, for the attainment of its own ends. Because its objectives are always focused
in the creation and maintenance of constructive relationships, its own methods and skills
are focused in its own capacity for, and use of, a cooperative and helping relationship.
Because its service is focused in facilitating a process of adjustment, rather than in the
attainment of a specific product or end, its own methods and skills and disciplines are
focused in the management of its own process, in the maintenance of a sensitive awareness
of what is happening to everybody in that process and of how the workers own participation
is affecting the feeling and interest of all the rest and their expression in participative action.
Because of the democratic philosophy on which the whole operation rests-because of the
workers awareness that responsibility for the outcome rests with others, not with himselfhis method and skill are consistently addressed to freeing and enlisting the honest,
voluntary, responsible contribution of feeling, understanding, experience, and purpose of
each and every person involved in the relationship, and the honest, objective, appreciative
use of these contributions in a process of integration. Always mindful of the decisive
responsibility of others for ultimate choice and decision, the social worker, nevertheless,
contributes his own professional difference-in the clarification of alternatives and their
potential consequences, in the analysis of the factors that enter into the choice, and in the
evaluation of those elements, in relation to the ultimate objective, in terms of available
resources, and in the light of a broader specialized experience in dealing with similar
problems.
The core of these processes, methods, and skills of generic social work practice is obviously
in the disciplined use of ones self in direct relations with people, both individually and in
groups. All else is secondary and incidental and assumes significance only as it eventuates in
the more effectual performance of the worker in that direct relationship.
There is, however, one unique and decisive factor in the setting within which the social
worker operates, which profoundly affects his use of himself in the helping relationship.
That is the fact that he is the representative of a social agency, which determines, by its own
choice of purpose and service and policy, the limits within which the worker serves. The
agency, in relation to our present subject, has two vital effects upon method and process. In
the first place, it introduces into the development of individual and group relationships and
purposes the stake of the larger community in the outcome, the basic social structure within
which these lesser relationships must find their place. The agency represents that stable
social whole with which individuals and groups must find their own adjustment, with which
they must come to terms, if they are to avail themselves of its help. In the second place, it
sustains and protects the worker in the helpful, non-controlling use of himself in relation
with others, exacting from him disciplined restraint upon the undue exercise of his own will
and power, either in understanding or feeling, and upon the undue expression of his own

interest, judgment, and purpose, in the choice of ends or means. Thus, the agency conserves
the basic democratic quality of the helping relationship, while at the same time sustaining
the essential framework of a stable democratic society.
Summery : It deals with problems not of the social environment, as such, nor of human
personalities, as such, but with the problems of relationship between them. Its objective is
not in changes of social structure or of personality but in improvement and facilitation of
the actual process by which people are enabled to find, sustain, and use constructive social
relationships. Its methods and skills are encompassed in a disciplined capacity to initiate,
sustain, and use a direct helping relationship with people, based upon a sensitive, alert
awareness of the meaning and effect of ones own feeling, thought, and action, and that of
other persons, in the development of the cooperative process that is going on between them,
and based, also, upon a clear acceptance of the limits of his own role and responsibility, as
determined by the function of the agency he represents. Finally, social work is guided and
enlivened by a democratic philosophy which recognizes the right and the responsibility of
individuals to manage their own lives, but always within the framework of a democratically
organized and democratically controlled social whole.
The widely accepted international definition of social work asserts that it core work claims
to promote social change,and be informed by a human rights and social work as a complex
and morally demanding activity. Practitioners are faced on a daily basis with a range of
situations which reflect the detailed complexities of peoples lives and their relationship to
social structures. Practitioners need to have the ability to work with situations of
uncertainty and with the ethical complexity which is at the heart of all practice. Within a
context where the profession is subjected to the challenges of limited resources ,increase
managerialism,privatization ,fragmentation ,de regulation, routinisation of social work
tasks. It is important for social work to maintain its humanitarian value based mission.
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