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International Social Development Essay

3324 words - 14 pages

Brett Burt

SWK-414 International Social Development
Session 3 2010.

Date submitted: 17th December 2010. via EASTS

I, Brett Burt, have read and understood the Charles Sturt University Plagiarism Policy. I declare that this assignment is my own original work and represents my intellectual property. It does not contain the work of others without appropriate reference being made.

Essay Question

‘Critically discuss the meaning of international social work and social development and demonstrate your understanding of the integrated perspectives approach by analysing and applying to an issue such as local level development, poverty, post conflict reconstructions, forced ...view middle of the document...

” (Extracted SWK 414 Readings 1 p. 6, 2010)

The definition is a fairly narrow one, excluding social workers working in another country in domestic areas. It seems that the work must be ‘across’ borders to be able to be termed ‘international’ social work. Another close definition was;

‘those social work activities and concerns that transcend national and cultural boundaries’. (Op cited).

To my mind this is a very linear, one directional definition that ignores the broad relational nature of social work. I prefer the operationally based definition by Warren used in 1937 /39 appearing in the Social Work Yearbook where is defines the subject international social work, as an integration of four activities which were firstly;

international social casework,
International assistance for war sufferers or disaster,
international conferences for exchange of ideas and
international co-operation by governments and bodies through international organisations such as the former League of Nations. (SWK414 Readings p6, 2010).

Healey prefers this type of broader definition and develops his own dimensions of international social work being international professional action and the capacity for international action by workers. International action has four functional dimensions:

internationally related domestic practice and advocacy,
professional exchange,
international practice and
international policy development and advocacy.
(Extracted from Readings SWK414 p25)

Healey gives examples covering each of the four (4) dimensions. First, involves example of West Indies teenagers moving to Canada and the ‘placement ‘ failing due to conflict with mother of young persons. The international flavour of the case study and of the follow up work is identified in the teens’ cultural conflicts such as people from West Indies tend to be suspicious of therapeutic (one on one) counselling which then necessitated group work approaches. (Extracted SWK414 Readings)

Even the plain definition of domestic social work from my perspective as a worker in Australia seems hard to ‘pin’ down and varies from occupation to occupation, where a sort of spectrum or matrix develops i.e social work in a hospital to statutory child protection work as well as country to country compare US and China. (Extract SWK414). Some commonality must exist in terms of what social workers do or it would be very hard to call social work a profession. Those common frames of reference are creating social change, create connections between people and communities, support human welfare and human rights.

The biggest influence internationally obviously has been the Western tradition where modern social work first arose as mentioned earlier in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. As western culture (that is English speaking capitalism) spread via colonial invasion around the globe so did...

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