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Essential Theory for Social Work Practice Paperback – 21 Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd (21 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412908744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412908740
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 1.2 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Chris Beckett's third novel Dark Eden (published in 2012), follows two others, The Holy Machine (2010) and Marcher (2009). His short stories have been appearing in print in Britain and the US since 1990, and his short story collection, The Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009, in a shortlist including collections by Booker and Whitbread prize-winners, Anne Enright and Ali Smith, a rare instance of a science fiction book winning a non-genre literary award.

More information about his fiction writing can be found at www.chris-beckett.com

Chris Beckett works part-time as a lecturer in social work, and he also writes text books. He tries to use his experience of story telling to make these books readable and lively, and to write in a realistic way about social work as it actually exists.

Product Description

Review

"I can say without equivocation this text is without doubt the best book about social workI have read. Chris Beckett explores the purpose, values activities and theories of social work in an ever-changing social context that is clearly identified and examined - Stephanie Petrie, University of Liverpool"

About the Author

Chris Beckett qualified as a social worker in the 1980s, and worked in the field for 18 years, first as a social worker and then as a manager, latterly as the manager of a children and families social work team.  Like most social workers who qualified at that time, he started out as a ‘generic’ social worker, working with a range of service users including children and families, old people, and people with mental health problems and disabilities, but his predominant area of work was always with children and families.

He moved into academic social work in 2000, working first at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and then at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.  In addition to his social work text books, he has published academic articles on a variety of topics including the use of military language in social work, the importance of realism as an ethical principle, and statistics from Sweden about child abuse, following the legal ban there on corporal punishment.  His main research area has been decision-making in court proceedings about children, and decision-making about children more generally.

Chris has a parallel career as a writer of literary science fiction, and has achieved some acclaim in this field.  He won the Edge Hill Short Fiction prize for his story collection, The Turing Test, and the Arthur C. Clarke award for his novel Dark Eden.  He now divides his time between his academic career and his fiction writing.   More information about his fiction can be found at www.chris-beckett.com.  His view is that ‘academic’ and ‘creative’ writing have more in common than might at first sight appear: in both cases the author begins with a jumble of ideas that seem to him to be in some way linked together, and attempts, in large part by a combination of intuition and trial and error, to impose some shape and structure.

Chris has three adult children, and lives in Cambridge with his wife Maggie and sundry animals.


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Fowkes on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
The best book about social work? I would not like to be as sweeping as that, but Part IV of this book must be the most extraordinary writing I have ever read about social work, certainly as written by a social work academic. As a conclusion to a book about theory, Part IV discusses the gap between theoretical rhetoric and the reality of the everyday job. Students of social work are, in my experience, nervous about theory, seeing it not only as difficult and complex, but uncertain as to its value in practical terms. Most often, the theory bit is (perhaps with relief) dumped in the world of work, where, in any case, there may be little evidence of experienced practitioners taking much heed of theoretical approaches. Part IV discusses various devices by which an illusion of progress is maintained in social work, such as sweetening, decoupling and wishlisting, later discussing anti-social work approaches, and the need for social workers to acknowledge the "dark side" of the profession. It should not be unusual to find these things discussed, but it is. By these means Beckett is hopefully giving the newly qualified worker, especially, a ladder from the uplands of training to the misty swampy realities of the job, rather than a rude tumble. The book is, throughout, an original and robust lateral look at what social work is and how it should be practised, with no feel of rehash. Even the simplistic notion that care is necessarily good and control bad is reinterpreted (p156), Beckett arguing that either can be oppressive or liberating, depending on the uses to which they are put, and the motives behind their use. He states "The purpose of theory in social work is to provide tools which practitioners can use to relieve suffering and to make the best possible decisions about difficult messy decisions" (p79) The ever-mindfulness of real-world constraints displayed in this book enables social workers to carry theory with them, and not leave it in the seminar room.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lunchbox on 29 Jan. 2010
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Buy this book just to read Part 4 "It's all very well in theory". It is the best 25 pages I have read in nearly 30 years of social work. I wish more academics would write about the absurdity of much political expectation and the social work theories that attempt to meet it - but then it is difficult to be so self-critical or reflective. The preceding 3 parts are a good introduction to theory for new social workers or students without being so challenging. Mr Beckett, please write a book to expound upon and develop your ideas from Part 4 - I have never felt so validated in my own thinking and I know many, many colleagues who would agree!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 16 Jan. 2013
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This is a useful book to have as part of your social work collection as it gives you some detail about theory used within social work, which can sometimes be confusing. It is easy to read and well written.
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By Pam on 31 May 2013
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Excellent value for money. This product arrived very quickly and the product met all my requirements. Would recommend for anyone else on Social Work course. Thank you.
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