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15 Int'l Soc. Work 1 (1972)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk15 and id is 1 raw text is: 


IN this   issue we are  once more  concerned
   with  the  inappropriateness  of  Western
   models  of social work for countries which
 differ strongly from the West both in value-
 systems and  in socio-economic development.
 Professor Nagpaul  argues  that such models
 are  now  considered  inadequate   by  many
 critics in their country of origin, and are al-
 most totally irrelevant to the problems and
 needs of India. At the same time, for histori-
 cal reasons, the training of social workers in
 India shows  little sign of throwing off this
 irrelevant model, and its products are there-
 fore virtually useless in the Indian scene. This
 is an extreme position, and some readers may
 feel the case is over-stated. For instance, his
 standards for courses in Community Organisa-
 tion are clearly more exacting than those of
 another contributor, Stuart Rees, who finds it
 worthwhile to send  Scottish students to the
 U.S.A. to study this method  of social work

   Professor Nagpaul  also maintains that the
special branches  of  social work  for which
Indian  social  work   graduates,  like their
American   counterparts, prepare, are  totally
irrelevant to the needs of Indian life. He sug-
gests that psychiatric social work will remain
an  extravagance until a much higher level of
custodial care has  been  achieved.  But the
value of  custodial care is increasingly open
to  question; in fact  programmes   of  mere
custodial care have been  shown to be  highly
dangerous  in terms of prolonging and exacer-
bating conditions which are curable, or cap-
able of  much  relief, by suitable attention to
environmental  factors, and the social situa-
tion.. The question is not whether psychiatric

social work  is an  important component   of
treatment  according  to Western   standards
but  whether it is not an important component
of rehabilitation as an alternative to long-term
custodial care.

   Similarly, Professor Nagpaul   argues that
 medical social work is completely irrelevant
 in view of  the disparity between  morbidity
 and medical  resources in India. By an inter-
 esting coincidence  we  published  last year
 (Vol. XIV No.  3) an  article by two  Indian
 authors which illustrates the value of social
 work in preventing the waste of human poten-
 tial and scarce medical resources which  too
 often occurs when   medical treatment  alone
 is offered to People who fail to cooperate on
 account of unmet social and emotional needs.
 Further discussion of these issues is clearly

   In a paper  of rare  balance and  wisdom,
 Dr. van de  Graaf  also  criticizes the tradi-
 tional focus of social work on the problems of
 the individual and his adjustment to society.
 He argues on the .one hand  that our concern
 for individuals cannot be effective unless we
 take responsibility for constructive criticism of
 the wider social system, but on the other that
 a focus on ever larger social systems must
 not be allowed to diminish our interest in the
 individual, who still needs the opportunity for
 existential encounter with the social worker.

   Mrs. Arad picks up the theme  of the social
worker's  responsibility for influencing social
policy -   and its difficulty. She is specially
concerned  about  the relative ineffectiveness

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