Social workers, whatever their specialism, practise with people at the margins of society. It is therefore essential that all social work students not only understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation but develop the knowledge and skills needed to bring about change and uphold social justice in all aspects of their professional practice. Split into three parts, this book considers what is meant by disadvantage and marginalisation, how this can come about and the impact this may have on lives, before unpicking the key knowledge and skills needed to practice effectively with individuals and groups. It then goes on to show what good ethical and reflective practice looks like, going step-by-step through the ins and outs of using the law and policy to bring about change before considering key ethical dilemmas in practice.

Who are the disadvantaged and marginalised people?
Who are the disadvantaged and marginalised people?
Achieving a social work degree

This chapter will help you to develop the following capabilities, to the appropriate level, from the Professional Capabilities Framework.


Recognise your professional limitations and how to seek advice.

Values and ethics

Manage potentially conflicting or competing values, and, with guidance, recognise, reflect on and work with ethical dilemmas.


Understand how an individual’s identity is informed by factors such as culture, economic status, family composition, life experiences and characteristics, and take account of these to understand their experiences, questioning assumptions where necessary.

Rights, justice and economic wellbeing

Recognise the impact of poverty and social exclusion and promote enhanced economic status through access to education, work, housing, health services and welfare benefits.


Recognise the short- ...

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