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Social Theory for Social Work


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Table of Contents

List of tables

Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Social Theory Matters for Social Work

Chapter 2: Classical Social Theory and Modern Social Problems

Chapter 3 Phenomenology and Social Theory: Exploring the Life-World of the Service User

Chapter 4: Symbolic Interactionism and the Social Self

Chapter 5: Norbert Elias: Emotions, Rationality and Self-Restraint

Chapter 6: Michel Foucault: Social Work and Professional Power

Chapter 7: Pierre Bourdieu: Symbolic Violence and Self-Exclusion

Chapter 8: Feminist Social Theory and Social Work

Chapter 9: Globalization and Social Work

Chapter 10: Conclusion: The Future of Social Work and Social Theory


About the Author

Christopher Thorpe is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Exeter. His areas of expertise include classical and modern social theory, cultural sociology and social justice. Previously he was at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, where he taught sociology and social theory to social work students. Together with David Inglis, he is author of An Invitation to Social Theory (2012).


"This wonderfully clearly written book shows professiomal and trainee social workers how they can greatly improve their practice by becoming practical sociologists. It also demonstrates to sociologists how their ideas can inspire concrete activities that are socially beneficial and positively transformative" - David Inglis, University of Helsinki.

"A rich meditation on the intersection between social theory and social work. Christopher Thorpe's excellent contribution brings into focus the importance of ideas and concepts for social work. Wonderful to see the inclusion of Norbert Elias who reflects on the emergence of new forms of 'civilized' life mirrored by much of social work's front-line engineering." - Stephen A. Webb, Glasgow Caledonian University.

"Social Theory for Social Work by Chris Thorpe provides a very good foundation for sociological social work approaches to professional practice that many of us have been advocating. It covers crucial sociological perspectives from Durkheim to Bourdieu and applies them to social work, using a critical reflective stance. Moreover, its approach to theory is one that students and practitioners can easily follow." - Lena Dominelli, Co-Director, Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, Durham University.

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