What’s New?

Narrative Social Work Theory and Application by Clive Baldwin, Policy Press.

From the book cover:

Interest in the contribution that narrative can make across many disciplines has been booming in recent years, but its impact in social work has been limited. It has mainly been used in therapeutic intervention such as narrative therapy, social work education or personal accounts. This is the first book to extend the narrative lens to explore the contribution of narrative to social work values and ethics, social policy and our understanding of the self in social, cultural and political contexts. The book sets out theoretical concerns and then applies them to specific areas of social work, including child protection, mental health and disability. The author argues that narrative is a richly textured approach to social work that can enhance both theory and practice. As such the book will be of interest to social work students, practitioners and educators, policy makers and those interested in the application of narrative to professional practice.

“A sophisticated yet exceptionally clearly written book. The argument feels highly contemporary, indeed cutting edge, in its call upon constructivist thinking and philosophy.” Dr Gavin Bissell, University of Bradford.

“Narravtive social work is a welcoming, lucid introduction to the relevance of different narrative perspectives for understanding social work practices ranging from individual diagnoses to professional ethics and social policy.” Professor Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary, Canada

Read my blogspot at: http://policypress.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/seeing-social-work-through-narrative/


Narrative social work

“This book asks how narrative ontology can illuminate the relation between social work theory and practice. Baldwin skirts the more familiar storytelling approaches in social work method such as life story work and reminiscence therapy-to look at the larger question of how narrative is involved in self- identity. This means not only client identity, but also professional identity. Similarly, Baldwin goes beyond the organizational myths and stories approach to group dynamics, to consider the role of grand narratives and meta-narratives in the construction of community, family, and ethnic identities. This includes meta-narratives such as social and medical models in social work theory and practice. Baldwin focuses particularly upon child protection, disability and mental illness theory and practice in social work. In thus taking the ‘strong’ view of narrative, as constructive of self within a discursive social world, Baldwin is able to link areas such as social work values with particular theory and practice issues, in sometimes novel and interesting ways. For example, he is able to link the human right to a voice and a narrative with aspects of social work practice that can suppress or facilitate the construction of a narrative and the establishment of narrative capital in ethnic and other identity – groupings. Finally, although establishing a clear allegiance with constructivist thinking within existing social work literature, the book is also able to anticipate potential criticisms of the narrative approach. The links between this approach and discourse analysis and hermeneutic philosophy are accepted, and potential pitfalls, such as those of terminology and language, are noted: in particular, the legacy of terminology from literary theory is confronted, and the book does a good job of rendering this often difficult area accessible. Even so, the book will probably win its most enthusiastic adherents from amongst those who already favor constructivist philosophy. To sum up a sophisticated yet exceptionally clearly-written book, the well informed practitioner should find much that is familiar in Dr Baldwin’s work, especially in the areas of mental illness, disability, and child protection. Here, the argument feels highly contemporary, indeed cutting edge, in its call upon constructivist thinking and philosophy, as it seeks to systematically apply concepts from narrative analysis to theory and practice in social work.”
Reviewed by Gavin Bissell, University of Bradford

Order your copy today at http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781847428264&sf1=keyword&st1=baldwin&m=1&dc=12