Developing an ideal-typical approach to social work as a profession
According to the global definition (IFSW, 2014), social work is a profession. Since the second half of the twentieth century, however, the meaning of professionalism has become blurred and its practices have been criticized fiercely. In order to understand, appreciate and strengthen social work as a profession, a sociological equivalent of positive psychology might be needed. Such a positive sociology (Stebbins, 2009) of professionalism would focus unequivocally on its meaningful and valuable potential. In this respect, Freidson’s (2001) ideal-typical approach of professionalism is quite promising. Its outcome does not fully meet Weber’s (1904, 1913, 1922) criteria for an idealtypical construction, though. This article argues that it is impossible to develop a solid scientific ideal type of professionalism based on a power perspective, as tried by Freidson (2001). A value perspective opens up a more promising approach for strengthening social work as a profession.
|Published in||Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice|
|Year and volume||28 1|
|Key words||Social work, profession, positive sociology, ideal-typical approach, power, value, expertise|