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PART II Society’s Gifts

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From radicalism to orthodoxy

This original and stimulating book examines contemporary issues in social work, particularly exploring the politicisation of the profession from the 1970s onwards. Detailing the wider social and political influences on the development of social work, the book argues that underlying much social theory and practice is a pessimistic and degraded view of humanity.

The author discusses different areas of social work in relation to this diminished view of the human subject, exploring the rise of the concept of abuse, the focus on individual vulnerability and the fear of the other, as well as the threat to civil liberties and privacy that has influenced changes in mental health legislation and the introduction of the Social Care Register.

The book highlights the need for a new approach to social work that has a more optimistic view of both individuals and society, and of their capacity to overcome problems. It is essential reading for students of sociology, politics and social work and for those involved in social policy and social care practice.

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143 SIX The inclusive society Solidarity in practice Solidarity has long been established in the political lexicon of European countries, and with its widespread use comes a degree of ambiguity. For practical purposes, there are very different understandings of solidarity. One model of solidarity bases it in rational cooperation and mutual aid. In developing countries, the primary strategy has been to facilitate the integration of people into the formal economy, an approach which has the decided advantages of increasing their income, and giving them access to

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Understanding social harm

While the notion of social harm has long interested critical criminologists it is now being explored as an alternative field of study, which provides more accurate analyses of the vicissitudes of life.

However, important aspects of this notion remain undeveloped, in particular the definition of social harm, the question of responsibility and the methodologies for studying harm. This book, the first to theorise and define the social harm concept beyond criminology, seeks to address these omissions and questions why some capitalist societies appear to be more harmful than others. In doing so it provides a platform for future debates, in this series and beyond.

It will be a valuable resource for academics and researchers across criminology, sociology, social policy, socio-legal studies and geography.

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1 ONE Who would not be for society? Rowland Atkinson, Lisa Mckenzie and Simon Winlow If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Cicero, Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro) Who would say they are not ‘for’ society? Society shapes our expectations of life. It informs our values, our behaviour, our dreams and our ambitions. The communities and networks that form an integral part of society give life colour and connect us emotionally to others. It is almost impossible to construct a positive vision of our lives without these things. What

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Social work and sociology

Society is undergoing change, and, as a result, social welfare services – including social work – are being transformed. This book explores the sociological basis of contemporary society and shows how social workers experience tensions and contradictions in practice.

The book uses case studies and self directed activities to enable students to relate sociology to daily lives. It explores key themes in turn, examining their relevance for social work and how they can be applied to practice, particularly in areas such as children and families, mental health, disability and older people.

Relevant and accessible, the authors explore aspects of class, ethnicity and gender and conclude with suggestions of how sociology can inform practice and enable social work to engage with processes of transformation.

The book provides essential material for students of social work and social care, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It will also be relevant to social policy and sociology undergraduates.

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Mapping structure and change

This comprehensive textbook provides a thorough analysis of the nature of European societies across the expanded EU member states. Using a wealth of data, the authors compare the different dimensions of the territorial and social order of Europe and address a range of issues relating to Europeanisation and key topics such as inequality, migration, poverty, population and family, the labour market and education. Presented in a student friendly way, this book also helps unravel people’s attitudes towards Europe, European integration and citizens of other European countries. It will be an essential read for under- and post-graduate students and academics of sociology, European studies, social stratification, social policy and political sciences.

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147 12 the absence of society Zygmunt Bauman What price the social state? The most remarkable and insidious feature of the present-day edition of social ills is that they arise mostly from the absence of society, rather than from its pressures. They are products of a gradual, yet relentless, withdrawal of ‘society’ as an entity that defines individual obligations while guaranteeing individual rights. ‘Society’ in that sense is now conspicuous mostly by its absence. Margaret Thatcher famously declared: ‘There is no such thing as “society”. There are only

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19 Part One: Families in society The first part of this book is concerned with how families engage with organisations and services as they seek to combine caring, working, training and education. Issues relating to the broad themes of family life and working life have received much attention in recent decades. Governments, employers’ organisations, trades unions and professional associations, along with a range of voluntary sector agencies and groups, have considered a range of policy and practice ideas to support families with children and other car ing

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Boundaries and relationships

Acknowledging the increasing diversity and complexity of families, this innovative book proposes a new conceptual framework for understanding families and other relationships that both challenges and attempts to reconcile traditional and contemporary approaches.

Using the notion of ‘boundaries’, the book shifts thinking from ‘families as entities’ to ‘families as relationship processes’. Emphasising the processes that underlie boundary construction and reconstruction suggests that the key to understanding family life is the process of relationship formation. The ideas of entity, boundary, margins and hybridity provide a framework for understanding the diverse, and often contradictory, ways in which families contribute to society.

Families in society makes a significant contribution to the academic literature on families and is essential reading for social science students, social researchers, policy makers and practitioners interested in families and relationships.

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