One hundred years of social work : a history of the profession in English Canada, 1900-2000

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Nonprofit Management and Leadership 14 3 , , Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work 9 2 , , Canadian Journal of Higher Education 47 2 , , Articles 1—20 Show more. Help Privacy Terms. Is the newer deal a better deal? When religion and sexual orientation collide: Ethical dilemmas in curriculum standards for social work education JR Vanderwoerd Social Work and Christianity 29 1 , , Threat from the south: is American religion bad news for Canadian social welfare?

Divisions between behaviour management and therapy: Towards new directions of authority in child and youth care J Vanderwoerd Journal of Child and Youth Care 5 1 , , Margaret Gibson. British Journal of Social Work 45, — doi E-mail: margaret. These are central questions of social work knowledge, practice and pedagogy. This article argues that an active engagement with history can promote a more nuanced and helpful ap- proach to intersectionality, as a greater understanding of the past shakes up static percep- tions of identity categories.

Two ways of looking at such a grouping illustrate different possible applications of intersectionality theory. A temporal, relational intersectionality is proposed—one that can be both historically responsive and situated in everyday narratives. The article concludes by addressing the social work implications of a historically aware, relational approach to difference. Keywords: Disability, history, identity, parents, sexuality, theory Accepted: May Introduction: intersectionality and its discontents How do we understand human difference, and what should we do with it?

Whether categories of difference appear between clients and workers, group members, participants and researchers, community groups, managers and staff workers, or teachers and students, social workers routinely face the chal- lenge of explaining and working with difference. In this paper, I consider what The Author All rights reserved.

Gibson it means when we identify, talk about and act upon social difference between people, and how questioning our understanding of social difference might usefully further social work goals. In so doing, I focus on the concept of intersectionality. In recent years, intersectionality has emerged as a central construct in the- orising how difference operates in social relations and hierarchies Collins, ; Crenshaw, ; Hulko, ; McCall, ; Mehrotra, For social work, the necessity to conceptualise and work with complexities of social difference and identity is particularly acute since the individuals and communities that social workers engage with are usually experiencing more than one form of marginalisation.

Mehrotra and Hulko have both effectively argued that intersectionality is an important and useful con- struct for social work.

International Advisory Board - Encyclopedia of Social Work

They have joined with scholars in other fields in arguing that intersectionality continues to present a fundamental, necessary critique of any political or scholarly analysis that attempts to generalise on the basis of one category of difference. Intersectionality now represents one of the most widely recognised scholarly contributions of feminist theory in general, and black feminist thought in particular.

With this widespread uptake, the meaning and impact of intersectionality have become diffuse and, at times, disquieting. For example, a number of writers have noted that, too often, intersec- tional language is combined with practices that bolster social inequities. In their argument for increasing the attention scholars and activists pay to inter- sectional practice rather than intersectional rhetoric, Jane Ward and Rachel E. In social work peda- gogy and practice, Wendy Hulko has similarly claimed that the language of intersectionality is sometimes deployed as a means for white feminists to avoid the acknowledgement of their own privileges Hulko, Such a revitalised investigation of inter- sectionality is much needed in contemporary social work; however, for those who wish to co-opt intersectional rhetoric to preserve their existing privi- leges, a conceptual continuum may be all too convenient.

Canadian Association of Social Workers

Intersectionality thus becomes seen as a formula which uses multiple, distinct axes of otherwise stable difference as they come together in individual bodies. No doubt, I have left out some important adjectives. But what next? Often, such approaches rely on defining individuals and groups solely in terms of shared oppressions, and neglect privileges and context Hulko, Gibson as in, who is really working-class?

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  4. Discussion and debate can end in increasingly fine divisions which ultimately reify cat- egories of difference as inevitable and immovable. Differences that may be very salient to the workings of a particular group are then shunted aside. This way of interpreting intersectionality entrenches difference. Some people can be seen as inevit- ably and only speaking from a position of entitlement and others as inevitably and only speaking from a position of marginalisation.

    Terminology, rather than impact, receives our focus, as we struggle to find the words that will not get us into trouble, rather than thinking about whom these designations affect, and how. In this article, I argue that an active engagement with history can assist social work in moving beyond social difference as an introductory caveat or a methodo- logical challenge, and instead promote a more nuanced intersectionality which engages with temporality, relationality and the legacies of power.

    This article thus blurs traditional boundaries of social work scholarship, as it draws upon historical records, critical theory and examples from personal reflection, all with methodological implications for empirical research. It is particularly appropriate that the process of reconceptualising intersectional- ity should connect ways of thinking that have been kept in different domains of scholarly practice.

    Urban Poverty, Policy and Social Justice

    Regardless of the terminology, to dominant ways of framing human difference and social work practice, this grouping appears as an exceedingly narrow focus with limited relevance to anybody who is not on that intersectional island of identity. Why, then, would this matter to the general theory and practice of social work, except as an esoteric example of stigma? A different approach to understanding such categories is suggested by attending to how related categories have been designated in other historical contexts.

    Consider work by German sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. German edition, published in in New York.

    In it, most case studies begin with a number e. Case , a diagnosis e. Two brothers died at the age of sixteen and twenty of tuberculosis. One brother was suffering from laryngeal phthisis. Four living sisters the same as Mrs. Two younger sisters were married and in good health, and both had healthy children. Another one, a maiden, was suffering from nervous affection Krafft-Ebing, , p. Mrs M. She learned easily, had gifts for poetry and aesthetics, was somewhat affected, loved to read novels and sentimental literature, was of neuropathic constitu- tion and very sensitive to changes of temperature, the slightest draught would make her flesh creep.

    Gibson of age she fancied her mother did not love her. In this brief excerpt of a much longer case study, categories are certainly in full evidence, however much is combined through and across these typologies. Krafft-Ebing himself explains: The first important point based upon ripe experience is the fact that antipathic sexual instinct as an anomaly of sexual life is only found in individuals who are tainted, as a rule, hereditarily. In foro particular stress should be laid upon this point Krafft-Ebing, , pp.

    Such writers assumed that there was an evolutionary ranking of humanity that societies ignored at their peril.

    James R. Vanderwoerd - Google Scholar Citations

    Proponents of emerging fields such as criminology, anthropol- ogy, psychiatry and public health advocated the role they might play in doc- umenting signs of human advancement or, more often, decline Gilman, Siobhan Somerville has argued that the attention such new experts began paying to the categorisation of homosexuality was always, primarily, motivated by fears of racial mixing and the decline of white supremacy. In such a discourse, then, the checkboxes found in contemporary social work practice were notably blurred, as mutually constitutive categories of race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability and class commingled to slot indi- viduals and groups onto the evolutionary ladder.

    In addition, these evolution- ary placements could change. Medical writers used case studies and biomedical imagery to argue that white people who engaged in such behaviours were racially suspect, and might pose a threat to future generations Gibson, , ; Gilman, ; Terry, This dominant turn-of-the-century discourse of degeneration flowed through the first decades of the twentieth century into a similarly mainstream consideration of how the reproduction of people could and should be scien- tifically improved: the domain of eugenics.

    Eugenics was founded by English scientist and prominent statistician Francis Galton — Although Galton died in , his ideas were taken up by so many others that they became accepted doctrine throughout North America from the early twentieth century on, peaking in the s and s. Most dominant in public health and immigration pol- icies, eugenic influences could be found across many domains of both Canad- ian and American culture and were integrated into emerging welfare states McLaren, ; Ordover, ; Snyder and Mitchell, ; Valverde, Parenting as genetic heredity mixes with parenting as psychological relation.

    Who should and should not reproduce were questions at the heart of eugenic belief and practice. In other words, in spite of many examples of categor- isation in this discourse e. Work by Ordover on the USA and Angus McLaren on Canada documents how mainstream such ex- plicitly eugenic thinking and practice was in North America, even though it has since been portrayed as a distant Nazi aberration.

    North American social work emerged as a profession in this same time period as degeneration and eugenic theories, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Description: The course provides the student with an overview of essential traditional, contemporary and emergent theories, models and perspectives relevant to generalist social work practice.

    Students will examine those important to social work practice such as developmental, biopsychosocial, psychodynamic, relational, systems, anti-oppressive, feminist, social justice, social constructivism, and structural. Students will explore the application of theories, models and perspectives to practice and develop a guiding framework for their own practice. Learning Format: Lecture. Contact Hours: 60 hours. Semester Length: 15 weeks.