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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The search for identity: Defining social work--past, present, future

Author: Gibelman,-Margaret
Author Background:
Date 7/1/99
Type Journal
Journal Title: Social-Work
Volume/Pages 1999 Jul; Vol 44(4): 298-310
Subject Matter Interpersonal and Social Intervention
Abstract The quest for status and identity has occupied center stage since social work s inception. This article reviews some of the factors that affect the definition of social work and its place in society and identifies the major forces affecting the boundaries of the profession now and into the future. It is argued that social work is defined by its place in the larger social environment at any given time and that external economic, social, and political forces have been more influential in shaping the nature of practice than intraprofessional choices. Periodic debates about the status and identity of the profession, its appropriate locus of concern, and theadequacy of its knowledge base, among other issues, are appropriate and positive. Such debates signify awareness of the dynamism of social work and its capability to respond to and address a changing world. ((c) 1999 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)