26/07/ What Do We Mean By Theory? Social Theories II BSc Social Work: Level III Nigel Horner
26/07/ In this first session we will: Reflect upon the VALUE OF THEORY Consider the LEVELS OF THEORY Explore what we mean by THEORIES OF EXPLANATION Examine what we mean by THEORIES OF INTERVENTION Understand Howes PARADIGM OF THEORIES But First……………………..>>>>>>>>
26/07/ The Task – The End Game…..! The unit will be assessed by submitting a 3,000 word essay addressing ONE of the titles below: It is possible to examine the development of social work in terms of a variety of influences but what do these mean for the future of social work as a profession? You should discuss this in relation to the criteria and at least ONE of the following: 1) A critical appraisal of the capacity of National and Local Performance Indicators to represent the efficacy of social work practice 2) A critical evaluation of theoretical accounts that best explain what social work is and which best inform your practice 3) A critique of the view that Radical Social Work was always just a fantasy and certainly very difficult to do in practice, particularly in the light of the political context since the 1980s. In answering ONE question you need to address the sources of knowledge, the impact of post modernity and modernism and alternatives to practice based upon rationality. Your work should reflect the justification for professional practice
26/07/ The Value of Theory (Howe) Social Workers who are able to state what it is they think is going on and how things should be tackled are appreciated by their clients BUT…… Each social worker may give us a different answer to the same situation. This curious state of affairs takes us into the world of theory
26/07/ Sibeon (1990) identifies 3 levels of theory: What Social Work is How to do Social Work The nature of the client world
26/07/ Theories of Explanation Whats Going On? Social Work relies upon the concept of ASSESSMENT, but this is always based upon a collection of Facts and Observations What we collect as FACTS and what we OBSERVE is always a selective process, based upon the notion of RECEIVED IDEAS, upon assumed KNOWLEDGE
26/07/ BIG IDEAS ABOUT THEORY No real observation of any kind of phenomena is possible, except in so far as it is first directed, and finally interpreted, by some theory (Auguste Comte) An Ideal Type is a logically consistent set of statements which can be use as a construct (or model) that serves as a tool to ascertain similarities as well as differences
26/07/ IDEAS ABOUT THEORY: AN EXAMPLE Andy drinks a lot of alcohol every day. Why? Addicte d His Dad did Whats a lot? Likes to Lonely To forget problems Peer Pressure Unhappy childhood Addictive personality
26/07/ Theories of Intervention The vogue term is: EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE, also known as WHAT WORKS In other words, we should only do what is PROVEN to be effective. So, WHAT WORKS with people who drink a lot of alcohol?
26/07/ EXPOSITION PART A OBJECTIVITY Natural Sciences Observable behaviour Proof Positivism Deteminism Facts and Data SUBJECTIVITY Humanities Thoughts and Feelings Interpretivism Existentialism Contested knowledge Discourse analysis
26/07/ EXPOSITION PART B REGULATION Stability Adaptation Functionalism Acceptance Conformity Law Order Social Cohesion CHANGE Instability Resistance Power Analysis Challenge Structural Change Liberation Social Revolution
26/07/ EXPOSITION PART C RAISERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS SEEKERS AFTER MEANING REVOLUTIONARIES THE FIXERS CHANGE REGULATION SUBJECTIVITY OBJECTIVITY Who are You?