Social Work, the Public Sphere and Civil Society

Bill Jordan, Nigel Parton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The central aim of this chapter is to focus on what we see as an increasingly paradoxical feature of social work in the UK. Essentially the paradox recognises that the core skills associated with social work-creative, interpersonal, interactive and concerned with negotiating and mediating over issues of interdependence, power and obligation have somehow come to be at a discount in practice in public-sector social work agencies, yet in demand in other agencies and organisations, even including other branches of the public services. It is as if public-sector social workers are becoming little more than organisational functionaries in 'their own' agencies, being subject to (often seemingly alien) assessment, audit and inspection, along with increasing managerial oversight; yet in other kinds of public-sector organisations, and in the voluntary sector, their capacities, principles, ethics and approaches are at a premium, and adopted or borrowed by other occupational groups (Jordan 2000; Parton and O'Byme 2000).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflecting on Social Work - Discipline and Profession
EditorsRobin Lovelock, Karen Lyons, Jackie Powell
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315245072
ISBN (Print)9780754619055, 9781138269996
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2004

Publication series

NameContemporary Social Work Studies
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd


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