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Social Work

Social Work
A Critical Approach to Practice

Third Edition

May 2016 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Social work is a human profession founded on social justice. It is difficult, however, to negotiate this in the constantly changing context of the 21st century. Drawing on her own experiences and the experiences of others, Jan Fook returns to address the critical tradition of social work, supporting students in their understanding of the possibilities of critical practices in changing contexts.


Part One: Critical Potential and Current Challenges sets the historical and current contexts for critical social work, introducing students to what critical social work is and what it means for practice.


Part Two: Rethinking Ideas unpicks the major concepts associated with critical social work, including knowledge, power, discourse, identity, and difference, and how these need to be rethought in new contexts.


Part Three: Redeveloping Practices illustrates how these new ideas can inform new practices, proving students with all the tools you need to deliver flexible, responsible and responsive social work practice.


Celebrating the ageless ideals of the profession, this book throws a life belt to all social work students and professionals looking to engage with the critical tradition of social work to improve their understanding and practice.


Jan Fook is Visiting Professor of Professional Practice Research, Royal Holloway, University of London and Chair in Education (Critical Reflection), Kingston University and St Georges, University of London

The Critical Tradition of Social Work
Current Contexts of Practice: Challenges and Possibilities
New Ways of Knowing
Discourse, Language and Narrative
Identity and Difference
Critical Deconstruction and Reconstruction
Problem Conceptualization and Assessment
Narrative Strategies
Contextual Practice: Strategies for Working in and with Contexts
Ongoing Learning

The content and approach offer a high standard of learning materials for students studying social work. 

Audrey Roulston
Queen’s University Belfast - UK

It is a very useful book that integrates post modern and critical theory in a way that challenges the reader to develop more effective social work practice.

Anna Gupta
Royal Holloway, University of London - UK

Fook is effective in placing herself within her writing and this compels readers to journey with her in exploring the interface of our evolving personal and professional selves.

G. Brent Angell
University of Windsor

This has been a valuable resource both in my teaching of undergraduate social work and for my own continuous development. 

Prospera Tedam
University of Northampton, UK

This book is our "social work bible". 

Christine Morley
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

A must-read for progressive social work.

Merlinda Weinberg
Dalhousie University, Canada

The book will provide a valuable critical perspective for this module on assessment

Dr Campbell Killick
School of Sociology and Applied Social S, Ulster University
July 17, 2019