Philosophical Paradigms of Social 
work

Type: lectures and seminars (36 hours), reading literature.

Level: advanced.

Credits: 10 ECTS.

Tutor: Lidia Kriulya, PhD, lecturer.

Aims of the course:

Studies help a student to:

  • understand philosophical foundations of social work practices;
  • integrate constructionist methodological approach to understanding the purposes of social work practice in contexts;
  • acquire knowledge about dominant and alternative discourses within and about social work;
  • identify positive and negative influence of dominant and alternative discourses on practice of social work;
  • understand basic principles of Modern Critical model of social work and Postmodern approaches in practice of social work;
  • integrate knowledge of post-theories in interpreting incidents that took place in different contexts;
  • acquire the ability to ‘see’ the discourses that shape the narratives.

Learning outcomes:

After the studies a student must understand:

  • the purposes and outcomes of implementing different theories to the practice of social work;
  • the ideas that shape the institutional contexts, particularly laws and public policies, and practice of social work;
  • major concepts of post-theories, such as postmodernism and poststructuralism;
  • the importance of building theory from practice;
After the course a student must be able to:
  • to analyze the relevance or irrelevance of applying a particular theory in a particular context;
  • to analyze how our subjectivities influence us in our role as a professional social worker, and consider the ways in which our subjectivities allow, or constrain, us in exercising professional authority in practice;
  • to critically reflect on an incident from social work practice and justify the choice of a theory/theories to solve the problem.

Content description:

The course aims to develop students’ capacity to explain how different philosophical ideas influenced the development of social work practices in different contexts, creating the conceptualization of its key objectives and activities, defining the role of a social worker and a service user, as well as shaping their relationships. Social work and theories are studied as discursive practices in contexts. The politics and application of the following perspectives will be analyzed: Psychodynamic Perspective; Crisis Intervention and Task-Centered Models; Cognitive-behavioral theories; Systems and Ecological Perspectives; Humanist and Existential Perspectives; Strength Perspective; Radical and Marxist Perspectives; Feminist Perspective; Postmodern approaches in social work.

Teaching methods :

Lectures, seminars, group work, reading the literature.

Work requirements: Participation in lectures, seminars and group work, reading the literature.

Assessment methods: Essay, 10 ECTS.

Grading: 1-5 / Fail

Recommended reading: Will be delivered by the tutor.