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Functional Theory: Its History and Influence on Contemporary Social Work Practice

Martha M. Dore
Social Service Review
Vol. 64, No. 3 (Sep., 1990), pp. 358-374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30012103
Page Count: 17
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Functional Theory: Its History and Influence on Contemporary Social Work Practice
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Abstract

This article traces the development of functional theory at the Pennsylvania School of Social Work in the 1920s and 1930s against a contextual backdrop of social work's struggle to carve out a professional identity. The evolution of this theoretical orientation to social work practice is discussed, including the often acrimonious functionaldiagnostic debates of the 1930s and 1940s. Finally, the lasting influence of functional theory on current social work practice is addressed.

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