Answer: What is Radical Social Work?

Radical social work aims to:
*support social work that is informed by a class analysis.

*support social work that strives to reduce poverty and inequality of income and wealth.

*assert that social work aims to improve people's lives not only by helping individuals and families but also by striving for structural change.

*challenge the culture of managerialism and develop radical social work theories which give social workers confidence in tackling social problems.

*promote radical ideas by providing a forum for sharing experiences, discussing current events, clarifying views and developing awareness of social issues.

*support radicals in front-line social work who struggle to maintain a radical perspective.

Resources on Radical Social Work

Recent publications:

Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the United States
by Michael Reisch, Janice Andrews, 2001

The Empowerment Approach to Social Work Practice: Building the Beloved Community
by Judith A B Lee, 2001

Publications on History of RSW (from Barefoot social worker site):

Radical Social Work, Roy Bailey and Mike Brake (1975) Edward Arnold, London. The foundation text of the radical social work movement, edited by two key activists.

The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work and Change, Geoffrey Pearson (1975) Macmillan, Basingstoke. A remarkable book that is deeply thoughtful and intellectually stimulating and presents the predicament of those professionals working for deviants in the mental health services.

Social Work under Capitalism, Peter Corrigan and Peter Leonard (1978) Macmillan, London.

Radical Social Work and Practice, Roy Bailey and Mike Brake (eds) (1980) Edward Arnold, London. Collection of essays addressing ideological issues underlying social work practice of the late 1970's.

Radical Social Work Today, Mary Langan and Phil Lee (1989) Routledge, London. A review of radical social work from the perspective of the late 1980's.

Case Con Manifesto - Document written by a group of radical social workers in Britain in the early 1970s. Much has changed but it is still a classic critique of the place of social work in society and will be of interest to a new generation of radical social workers.

Additional Resources:

Barefoot social worker website (UK)

Twin Cities Radical Social Work Study Group (US) –has a listserv

Publications listed in barefoot social worker site, includes recent articles: