16 Int'l Soc. Work 1 (1973)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk16 and id is 1 raw text is: 


















EDITORIAL


  IN   this first issue of 1973, we are glad to
      welcome  again to our pages a distinguish-
      ed past contributor, the former President
  of I.C.S.W., Professor Eugen Pusic, who  puts
  forward  a most  interesting plan for a topic
  of cross-national research  in social policy,
  selected for  its general  interest, practical
  urgency, intellectual challenge and methodo-
  logical feasibility. Rapid social change   is
  certainly an  extremely  widespread   pheno-
  menon,  which spawns  a host of social prob-
  lems  much  faster than  planners  and   ad-
  ministrators have been  able to mobilize re-
  sources,  adapt   traditional strategies  or
  devise new   ones  in order  to meet   them.
  Let us hope this suggestion will fall on fertile
  ground and  bring  forth abundant  and  fast-
  ripening fruit.

    We  have   clearly not done  yet with  the
 topic of misfit models of social work and the
 training of  its practitioners, exported  un-
 changed   from  highly industrialized and in-
 dividualistic societies to developing countries
 very different in economy   and values.  The
 subject is now   reopened  in  very concrete
 form by  an article by Lynn and  Betty Vogel
 on the situation in South Vietnam, where we
 are  devoutly thankful  that hostilities have
 been  halted  at last. The  Vogels  mention,
 among  other things, that as recently as 1966
 the United Nations  set up, in that war-torn
 country, a school of social work closely fol-
 lowing the American   model,  with a  4-year
 programme   covering all the traditional spe-
 cialisms. In a country  full of urgent crises
 of mutilation, starvation, bereavement  and
 family breakup, should  we  applaud  this as
the  wisdom  of  long-term  planning for  the


  future (however  uncertain), or is it fiddling
  while  Rome  is burning?   In particular, can
  this school and   its staff really be as  un-
  concerned  with the  special features of cur-
  rent and  local needs as the Vogels  believe?

    The  section  concerned   with foreign  in-
  volvement  in social welfare is also sadden-
  ing, with  its account of  funds  generously
  contributed, poured into this tragic country,
  and used  -   with the best of intentions -
  in ways that compete  destructively with local
  effort, and run the risk of permanently  im-
  pairing the self-reliance of the client com-
  munity.  We   are  reminded   of an   earlier
  article (Arthurs, XIII 3) describing similar prob-
  lems in Lesotho, and carrying the same mes-
  sage, that the principle of self-determination
  should apply as  much  to peoples  as to in-
  dividuals (and the risk of  pauperization is
  as great).

  Finally, the story of the nun with the truck-
  load of goods   reminds  us of the  extreme
  complexity of the ethical issues we discussed
  last year. Here is a social worker using con-
  trol of scarce and precious  resources in a
  highly directive and  paternalistic way  in
  order to induce (virtually to force) a poverty-
stricken and  hungry  community  to carry out
some   work, undoubtedly   for its own good,
which  it seemed  unlikely to perform without
such  pressure. A similar procedure has been
criticised by  various (white) authors  when
practised  by  African governments   or  their
officials, and is sometimes described in terms
which  make it sound almost inhuman:  but this
story has a  final twist which makes us think
again.  Here is a representative of the client

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