• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book examines key sociological theories that have contributed to the understanding of the nature of social work, its organisation and delivery. It provides key sociological concepts and theories to help student social workers better understand the nature of their work and the social and political context within which they will be working. Taking a practical approach to social work, and focusing on the application of theory, the book also provides insightful discussions to important thinkers such as Douglas, Beck and Furedi, and how their ideas have direct relevance for understanding the risk averse nature of social work.

Bourdieu and Social Work
Bourdieu and Social Work

The aim of this chapter is to show the potential usefulness of the conceptual framework of social theorist Pierre Bourdieu (1932–2002) and how it can be applied to social work and social work research. It is an account of my doctoral research in relation to how children and family social workers make sense of the legislative and policy context in which they practise. Since first encountering Bourdieu I have found him ‘enormously good to think with’ (Jenkins, 2002: 11). I have also found his spur to identify the ‘problem’ and not to be bowed by it, but to ‘do’ something with it, both challenging and energising. In this chapter I am inviting you to think with Bourdieu.

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