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Social Work Science$
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Ian Shaw

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166409

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166409.001.0001

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The Social Work Science Community

The Social Work Science Community

Controversies and Cooperation

(p.126) [5] The Social Work Science Community
Social Work Science

Ian Shaw

Columbia University Press

I have bracketed a major question that can no longer be ignored. In what sense is social work a community in relation to its science work? How is social work science socially organized? Does it make sense to see social work nationally or even internationally as, in this regard, a shared collective enterprise? In the first part of the chapter I explore how far it makes good sense to see social work as engaged in science work collaboration. In addition, how far can we detect networks or perhaps schools? At the instrumental level, what mechanisms seem to exist for ordering the community? Having explored this territory, the question arises whether this places undue weight on the collective rather than the individual within social work science. I will look at the idea of “inventions” in this connection, taking taskcentered practice as my main example. Despite the implicit diversity in such arguments, it may seem that it is all rather too consensual. To get inside this question we will consider two related questions. First, how far does it make sense to see social work as fissured by interests? Second, is social work and its science activity marked by controversies? The key words interest and controversy are given strong meanings in this discussion. Finally, accepting that at some level there are differences and disagreements in social work on science issues, are there beneficial ways in which disagreements reciprocally should be explored and perhaps resolved or at least taken forward?

Keywords:   Controversies, Collaboration, Networks, Schools, Inventions, Interests

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