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Narrative Social Work

Interest in the contribution narrative can make across many disciplines has been booming in recent years, but its impact in social work has been limited. It has mainly been used in therapeutic intervention such as narrative therapy, social work education or personal accounts. This is the first book to extend the narrative lens to explore the contribution of narrative to social work values and ethics, social policy and our understanding of the self in social, cultural and political context. The book firstly sets out theoretical concerns and then applies them to specific areas of social work, including child protection, mental health and disability. The author argues that narrative is a richly textured approach to social work that can enhance both theory and practice. As such the book will be of interest to social work students, practitioners and educators, policy makers and those interested in the application of narrative to professional practice.
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Table of Contents

Introduction to narrative theory (with Brandi Estey-Burtt); Narrative, human rights and social justice; The narrative self and social work; Social work ethics and narrative; Narrative and social policy; Plot, characterisation and rhetoric in child protection; The narrative self in mental health discourse (by Brandi Estey-Burtt); Meta-narratives of disability (with Mary-Dan Johnston); Conclusion.

About the Author

Clive Baldwin is Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies in the School of Social Work at St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative. He was formerly Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Bradford, UK. He has published previously on the contribution narrative can make to understanding ethics, dementia, child protection and mental health.


"It identifies a methodological and coherent approach that can be applied to core current limitations imposed by recurring systems." Jameel Hadi, University of Suffolk. "A sophisticated yet exceptionally clearly written book. The argument feels highly contemporary, indeed cutting edge, in its call upon constructivist thinking and philosophy." Gavin Bissell, University of Bradford "Narrative Social Work is a welcoming, lucid introduction to the relevance of different narrative perspectives for understanding social work practices ranging from individual diagnoses to professional ethics and social policy." Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary "Clive Baldwin's Narrative social work is an impressive contribution to the literature on narrative. He shows how use of narrative concepts advances understanding of the complex issues with which social workers are engaged, breaks open possibilities for ethical practice, and promotes analytic remedies to constraints imposed by the medical meta-narrative in several fields of practice." Kathleen Wells, Ph.D., Emerita Professor, Case Western Reserve University

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