Social exclusion is a subject of major importance in contemporary social work and has been a core feature of social policy developments in the UK and Europe in the past decade. Michael Sheppard argues that the issue of social exclusion lies at the very heart of social work and he examines the implications of this position for both theory and practice. He goes on to examine a range of key topics in social work including: Social work values and knowledge Empowerment Need The exercise of authority Authority and Choice Evidence-based practice Reflection and reflective learning Judgement and decision making Social work and 'art' Social work as 'science' He discusses how each of these topics reflect an underlying concern with social exclusion, making it clear that even though the term 'social exclusion' is of recent origin, it provides a framework for understanding the enduring themes of social work. The book offers an original contribution to the understanding and practice of social work and includes a reappraisal of some fundamental aspects of the profession and its practice.
In its focus on issues of wide concern it will be essential reading for practitioners and students in social work. It will also be of interest within social policy generally, offering an example of the way in which social exclusion becomes an issue of professional concern in welfare, and the form this takes in practice.
Dr Michael Sheppard is Professor of Social Work at the University of Plymouth, UK.