3 Int'l Soc. Work 1 (1960)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk3 and id is 1 raw text is: 




THE TEACHING OF SOCIAL SCIENCES IN SCHOOLS OF
                                SOCIAL WORK

                                    Bernt H. Lund*


    AM   grateful for this opportunity  to discuss with
    you  at this Regional Conference one  of the central
problems  in social work education, the teaching of social
sciences in our schools of social work. This is a problem
of concern  to all of us whether  we are teaching  basic
sciences or social work methods.

  When   I use the term social sciences in this paper I am
referring to political science, economics with economic
or  social history, sociology, anthropology  and  social
psychology.  This  corresponds to what  the social work
educators at the  Munich   meeting  in 1956  called the
study of  society. In  making  the  distinction between
social psychology and  the  rest of psychology, and  by
discussing social psychology in connection with sociology
and  anthropology,  I prefer to  leave out  the rest of
psychology  in this paper. General  psychology, clinical
psychology  and  child psychology,  for instance, being
the content  most  commonly   given  in the  psychology
courses, are in my opinion  closer to the study of man
than  the study of  society. Our   discussion may  raise
related questions,  such  as  the relationship between
social work and  the social sciences, or the role of the
social sciences in the social work methods  and  in the
teaching of  these methods, or  the contribution of the
social sciences to social work research. The question of
social work  research  will be  dealt with   in another
paper and  I shall therefore omit reference to it, but I
shall briefly touch on the question of  the relationship
between  social work  and  the social sciences before I
come  to my main  subject.

  Social  Work   -   Social Science   Relationships
  It may  be necessary to begin by stating that we regard
social work  as a profession.  This may   be obvious to
all those present at a meeting such as this, but there are
probably large groups who  do not accept this. Speaking
for my  own  country, Norway,  social work  as a profes-
sion is in its infancy, hardly recognized  as a profes-
sion even  by  the social workers and  the  social work
educators themselves.   But  it is coming,  and  in the
process of developing  social work as a profession with
its own body of knowledge   it becomes clear that part of
this knowledge is drawn  from the social sciences. Thus.


the relationship between social work
is one of profession to science.


and  social science


     The  objective of social work as a profession is -
and  here I use a definition patterned after Bisno in his
book  The  Philosophy of Social Work:   to help people
to achieve relationships conducive to the satisfaction of
their personal needs along culturally defined paths, where
these relationships actually break down or are likely to;
this is accomplished (a)  by creating desirable resources
in society or marshalling already existing social resources
and  (b) by  developing within individuals the capacities
to utilize such resources.I

   It follows that the  function of  a social worker  is
partly that of planning and trying to create the necessary
resources, and partly that of working  with  individuals
in  groups.   Social work,  therefore, should be  based
upon  a thorough knowledge  of society and of the human
being, and  of man's  relationship to society. If social
work  is to fulfil its objective, not one. but all of the
social sciences seem to play their part.  And  we  must
be concerned  with more  than the content of the  differ-
ent social sciences as a necessary component of a social
worker's  knowledge.   The  scientific methodology, i.e.,
the. way to analyze a problem, to reach the right diagnosis
and  plan of  treatment, is also a valuable contribution
from  the scientist to the practitioner. In analyzing a
problem,  be it an individual case or a  piece of social
reform,  the social worker will have  at his disposal a
unique  body of knowledge  -  the principles of practice,
or practice theory as it has been  called in the United
StateS2 with identified types of diagnosis and treatment.
But  the development  of practice theory is a process of
scientific evaluation and re-evaluation of practice. And
in this process the social worker can be greatly helped
by research methods  developed by social scientists. Thus,
the contribution of the social sciences to social work is
two-fold:  (I)   knowledge,   i.e., what to  think        and
(2)  method,  i.e.. how to think.

The  Responsibility   of- the Schools  of Social Work
   If we  agree  that there is an  important  and  close
relationship between social work and  the social sciences,


*Mr. Lund is a lecturer at the Norwegian School of Social Administration and Social Work. Oslo, and a member of the Executive Board of the
IASSW.  His paper was presenied at a general session of the European Regional Conference of Schools of Social Work held in Strasbourg.
France. on July 16-18, 1959.
I Quoted in Earnest Greenwood. -Social Science and Social Work: A Theory of Their Relationships. The Social Service Review. (June. 1955). p. 24.
2 Ibid., p. 26.

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