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Some Thoughts on the Relationship between Theory and Practice in and for Social Work

Nigel Parton
The British Journal of Social Work
Vol. 30, No. 4 (AUGUST 2000), pp. 449-463
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23716147
Page Count: 15
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Some Thoughts on the Relationship between Theory and Practice in and for Social Work
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of the discipline of social work and to argue that perhaps its central and unique characteristic is the way theory and practice are closely interrelated. In doing so it suggests it is important to locate social work in its particular social, political and historical contexts and to identify some of the key factors which have influenced not only its development but its form. Social work is identified as being essentially ambiguous, complex and uncertain such that its major strengths are in terms of its ability to improve dialogue, understanding and interpretation, rather than simply be concerned with legislating and acting with authority. In this sense it has the potential to make a significant contribution to the contemporary social sciences more generally.

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