Social work contemplates establishing social justice through social transformation, and social transformation, in many cases, leads to an innovation, especially social innovation. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether The New Structural Social Work (Mullaly, B., 2007) can be considered an innovation.
The origin of social work is traced back to the end of the nineteenth century, when the Charity Organization Society movement began in 1877 in the United States of America, and the Settlement House movement started in 1884 in England. In both the cases, rapid industrialization, urbanization (Mullaly, B., 2007), and mass immigration contributed to escalating people’s plight due to ...view middle of the document...
Conventional social work views clients as the sources of the problem and solution, and thereby, seperates clients’ problems from the built-in social problems. That put clients in isolation and alienation to the social issues.
06. Political activism in conventional social work appears unprofessional. Social workers are responsible to address social issues without focusing on social politics.
(Carniol, Ben, 1992)
Conventional social work initiates based on two approaches/perspectives, such as: personal change, and person-in-environment (Mullaly, B., 2004). The former suggests different psychological interventions for bringing changes at the personal level, whereas the latter is designed to bring limited social changes through personal changes. In order to avoid social disequilibrium, the general systems theory is adapted as a guided principle (Brown & Hannis, 2008). In addition, ecosystems, life model, problem-solving, and strength perspectives (Mullaly, B., 2004) are taken into consideration. Ecosystem refers to the network of interactions among living beings, and living beings and their environment within a specified area (Schulze et al. 2005). Life model, on the other hand, emphasizes on helping people cope with different categories of stress caused by (a) ‘life transactions, (b) environmental processes, and (c) maladaptive patterns of interpersonal relationships and communication’(Germain and Gitterman, 1980). Problem solving in social work, as identified by Compton and Galaway (1999), is a process encompasses with engagement, assessment, intervention or action, and evaluation. Referring to the strength perspective, Marie Weil (2005a) suggests nurturing of strengths and empowering of groups by establishing working relationships and partnerships between community practitioners and community members.
Convntional social work, thus, attempts to address individuals’ crisis with an assumption that by resolving individuals’ problem, social change can be established (Mullay, B. 2007). Therefore, causes perceived by social workers are primarily based on individuals’ needs. Goals and strategies, though, are developed independently, they are influenced and controlled by social power sources. As a result, if innovation occurs in this process, it addresses individuals’ crisis, and has limited contribution to social changes. Since social problems remain mostly excluded from the loop, individuals’ crisis never ends, and goes back to the conventional social work seeking further support.
Major changes in social work appear through the adaptation of radical social work views. The ‘Settlement House Movement’ by Jane Addams in the late 19th century appears as the first radical social work. Addams focuses on identifying the cause, helping people to generate praxis and conscientisation, guiding people to build coalitions and participation, and negotiating with the power sources (Mullaly, B., 2004; Brown and Hannis, 2008). One of the major contesting approaches...