Post modernism and our contemporary social work understanding Essay
Pulling on stuff from the faculty, critically discuss the extent to which theories associating to post modernism inform our apprehension of an facet or facets of modern-day societal work.
Theories of postmodernism have gathered gait across all facet of societal theory. This is frequently referred to as the postmodern ‘turn ‘ ( Best and Kellner, 1997 ) . The outgrowth of the modern/postmodern argument in response to economic, societal and cultural transmutation has important deductions for professions such as societal work ( Crook et al, 1992 ) . A huge array of literature has emerged with an involvement in understanding alterations to welfare proviso and societal work in relation to post modernness ( Parton, 1994 ) .
This text will critically discourse the extent to which theories associating to post modernism inform our apprehension of modern-day societal work. Bing with the outgrowth of postmodern theory it will try to specify this phenomenon by researching the cardinal subjects. Concentrating on two elements in peculiar, public assistance and anti-oppressive pattern, this text will seek to place characteristics of postmodern societal work utilizing modernness as footing for comparing and analysis. To reason collaborative theories such as ‘affirmative ‘ or ‘critical ‘ postmodernism will be explored as positions that inform understanding and guide societal work pattern into an attack that combines both personal and societal factors.
Postmodernist societal theory began to emerge in the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s. It developed into the 1980 ‘s where the constructs of globalisation and reflexiveness become incorporated. Today the postmodern argument continues to act upon societal work policy and pattern ( Walker, 2001 ) . Postmodern theory developed as a response to a sensed ‘crisis of modernness ‘ brought on by factors such as accelerated economic growing, consumerism and resource depletion ( Boggs, 1993 ) . For many theoreticians such as Lyotard ( 1991 ) modernness failed to accomplish its supposed purposes of democracy, human emancipation and societal justness through its grounds based universe position.
Amongst theoreticians there is small consensus about when the universe become station modern or if so it has giving rise to a overplus of postmodern positions and associated footings such as ‘late modern ‘ , ‘post-industrial ‘ , ‘post-structural ‘ and ‘high or late modernness ‘ ( Dodd, 1999 ) . Some theoreticians attempt to explicate postmodernism historically whilst others “ see it synonymous with the death of historical clip ” ( Felski, 2000, p.2 ) . As a consequence postmodernism proves hard to specify. There is nevertheless a common characteristic that can be identified within most postmodern theory, the death of ‘mega-narratives ‘ ( Lyon, 1994 ) . Factors such as uncertainness, flux, ambiguity, pluralism and diverseness have besides been identified as features of a postmodern society ( Turner, 2006 ) . The inflow of postmodern theories has changed the discourse of societal scientific discipline switching the focal point from analysis of societal construction to analysis of significance ( Baronial, 2004 ) .
In sing the impact of theories associating to postmodernism attending should be given to what characterises modern and postmodern societal work. Social work can be considered a kid of modernness ( Parton and Marshall, 1998 ) . The foundations of modernness were set in understanding the societal universe through ground, objectively and scientific survey ( Boggs, 1993 ) . Some argue that it was this presence of logical statement and committedness to ground that equipped societal work with tools to place and turn to subjugation ( Baronial, 2004 ) . For this ground societal work has spent most of its adolescence within the societal scientific disciplines concentrating on an grounds based attack to pattern ( Payne, 2005 ) . Writers such as Gellner ( 1992 ) and Hambermas ( 1987, cited by Leonard 1997 ) advocate that if separated from repression and domination human ground is still the most progressive force for undertaking the societal universe.
A modernist position assumes that there is some fixed kernel or ethical base that informs societal work ( Baronial, 2004 ) . This was a popular position in the 1970 ‘s where chase for a synthesized attack to theory and pattern was accelerated and statements were made for the debut of generic practicians and sections ( Howe, 1994 ) . The statement that in the age of modernness societal order is maintained through self-regulation, systematic question and expertness put frontward by Foucault ( 1975 ) , goes some manner toward explicating the development and popularity of curative attacks within societal work. Promoting psychological apprehension became a footing for societal work with intervention and rehabilitation organizing the foundations of the profession ( Payne, 2005 ) . There is of class considerable argument as to whether societal work did get down with such emancipatory purposes and its publicity of universalism and objectively is surely challenged by the postmodern discourse.
Social work, from a postmodern position, stresses attending to power dilution, diverseness, the authorization of the service user, pluralistic positions and a unstable attack to intercession ( Parton and O’Byrne, 2000 ) . In this attack universalism is rejected and practitioners no longer strive to understand human behavior through a theoretic model. Multiple public enquiries into child deceases and institutional maltreatment have shaken religion in psychologically based techniques, oppugning their ability to back up persons to work safely in society ( Walker, 2001 ) . This coupled with unfavorable judgments from extremist societal work positions has created infinite for a legal and societal justness model to emerge ( Howe, 1994 ) . Within this framework societal workers are progressively judged by their effectivity giving ground, argues ( Aldridge, 1996 ) , for societal workers to encompass their expertness and go more confident to joint responses to unfavorable judgment.
An deduction of answerability civilization is that societal work pattern becomes task-orientated and public presentation related ( Hugman, 2003 ) . It is for this ground that postmodernism has been critiqued for reacting merely to the surface of events with small disposition to research what is behind this ( Ferguson and Levalette, 1999 ) . Social work is reduced to a set of organizational processs dictated by codifications of behavior, “ Once the thought of a common theoretical base underpinning all societal work patterns is abandoned, the full deductions of the controlling nature of statute law and policy can be unleashed ” ( Howe, 1994, p.524 ) .
Having considered what characterises modern and postmodern societal work we can get down to research how these positions inform different facets of societal work. Given that societal work is submerged in the public assistance argument it seems a logical get downing point to see in relation to postmodernism ( Pease and Fook, 1999 ) . Understanding postmodernist theory in this sense gives insight into the political and societal clime that shapes pattern. Concerns have been raised sing the impact of the postmodern discourse. Writers such as Powell ( 2001 ) suggest that the public assistance system provides an indispensable function in chastening unmanageable elements of capitalist economy through a province supported redistributing public assistance system. Although modernist minds would profess that the public assistance province has ne’er to the full succeeded in turn toing built-in inequalities, its really being has improved the criterions of life for the bulk ( Baronial, 2004 ) . Therefore it is barely surprising that concerns are being voiced over an increasing neo-liberal docket and subsequent retrenchment of the province in favor of a free market economic system ( Midgly, 1999 ) . The debut of ‘quasi-markets ‘ and ‘mixed economic systems of attention ‘ has resulted in what is referred to as a ‘contract civilization ‘ ( Ife, 199 ) . Powell ( 2001 ) suggests that the eroding of the public assistance province has placed barriers to humanistic societal policies and as a consequence professions such as societal work battle to stay cardinal to serve proviso and to progress their wider purposes of societal justness.
Postmodernism with its neglect for cosmopolitan values and moralss coupled with globalization and the continued spread of capitalist economy are the drive forces behind this alteration ( Baronial, 2004 ) . Ritzer ( 1995 ) efforts to specify the position of society and societal relationships in relation to a planetary market economic system. Warning of the de-humanizing influences of big multi-national corporations Ritzer ( 1995, p34 ) high spots working patterns that, “ represent the modern-day rationalization procedure within globalisation of civilization ” . The four chief elements of these on the job patterns ; germinating, efficiency, calculability and predictability are increasing nowadays within societal work.
Naturally these concerns are non shared by everyone. Many postmodern theoreticians argue that that the public assistance province has ever been a beginning of contention ne’er making consensus on how it should be organized, funded or distributed ( Dominelli, 1996 ) . Modernists can be critiqued for neglecting to admit the public assistance province as a mechanism for reproducing societal inequality through the manner in which resources are accessed and precedences established ( Walton 1975, cited by Dominelli, 2004 ) . Giddens ( 1991 ) identifies the public assistance province as edge to ‘traditional household and gender systems ‘ . Fraser and Gordon ( 1994 ) observe the gendered nature of public assistance proposing that policies centred on dependence, frequently associated with muliebrity, perpetuate negative representations of adult females and other disadvantages groups. Jordon and Jordan ( 2000 ) suggest alternatively that the Third Way in political relations, dismissed as oppressive capitalist economy by observers such as Bauman ( 2002 ) , has a moral fiber in the sense of offering justness and inclusion without coercing conformance. Rights and freedoms are offered in the context of the market topographic point, persons have pick by agencies of being a consumer ( Howe 1994 ) . It is argued that the growing of the voluntary sector and alterations to determination devising and direction constructions are making infinite for more advanced and individualized service bringing which is free from the restraints of institutional barriers ( Walker, 2001 ) .
The modern postmodern argument gathers gait when considered in relation to anti-oppressive pattern. Here there are farther concerns sing the postmodernism influence on societal work. Writers such as Ferguson and Levalette ( 1999 ) have argued that postmodern positions have small to lend to anti-oppressive pattern. Without cosmopolitan moralss and values it becomes hard to transform power dealingss or to place common experiences that oppressed groups may portion ( Callinicos, 1995 ) . The chief review that Ferguson and Levalette ( 1999 ) anteroom on postmodernism is if all discourses are to be treated as valid the footing for separating subjugation is removed. Some women’s rightists among other political critics argue that postmodernism, with its rejection of meta-narratives disempowers socially disadvantages groups “ at the really point at which they need to demand emancipation in the name of universalistic impressions of justness and equality ” ( Leonard, 1997 ) . To turn to this requires a separation of emancipatory theory from oppressive political orientation. The impression that emancipation can hold a ‘normative foundation ‘ is considered by postmodernism to be unsound. However advocators of modernness such as Hambermas ( 1987, cited by Leonard 1997 ) advocate the demand for a criterion or a signifier of ‘undistorted communicating ” to stay in order to separate and dispute subjugation.
Smith ( 1994, p.26 ) raises concerns that in a postmodern society subjugation becomes self defined, the relationship between an person ‘s societal state of affairs and their individuality becomes separated ensuing in “ no nonsubjective manner to turn up a primary beginning of subjugation ” . Smith ( 1994 ) besides suggests that the jubilation of diverseness that postmodernism promises merely serves to trivialize existent subjugation felt by many disfranchised groups. Increasingly constructs of individuality have replaced discourses of subjugation ( Ferguson and Levalette, 1999 ) . Leading the charge on individuality is Giddens ( 1991 ) who asserts that persons are rational and automatic agents who create and shape their ain individualities. This premise that individuality is a affair of pick has been challenged significantly. Observers such as ( Skeggs, 2001 ) have argued that pick and reflexiveness is a classed phenomenon with many persons holding few and frequently unwanted life styles from which to take.
There are of class counter statements to be considered here. To some postmodernists modernness is, or was depending upon their position, a Eurocentric, patriarchal and destructive force legitimised through the linguistic communication of scientific discipline ( Pease and Fook, 1999 ) . In a modern society those in places of power are able to find how cognition is understood and what cognition is relevant ( Howe, 1994 ) . Postmodernism rejects the thought that expansive theories such as liberalism, socialism and depth psychology have offered accounts for human development proposing alternatively that they perpetuate subjugation by demanding consensus to their absolute impressions ( Bauman, 1992 ) .
A cosmopolitan cognition base that informs apprehension of human behavior of course assumes something movable that can be applied across all societies and civilizations ( Dominelli, 1996 ) . It has been suggested that this signifier of universalism equates to cultural domination and the potency for racialist political orientation ( Leonard, 1997 ) .Within this review postmodernism suggests that diverseness should be celebrated “ as a contemplation of the polymorphic, non-unitary and con-consensual nature of the societal word ” ( Howe, 1994, p.524 ) . A relativist attack in contrast to a cosmopolitan attack suggests all signifiers of behavior are local rendering impressions of human nature redundant ( Howe, 1994 ) . Postmodernism challenges the impression that perspectives such as Radical or critical societal work are the lone agencies by which emancipation can be achieved. In this context following cosmopolitan truths as a footing for emancipation is deemed chesty and unethical ( Baronial, 2004 ) . Postmodernism “ spurns the construct of ground as an empancipatory force ” and suggests that a more empowering attack is through the embrace of pluralism and difference ( Dodd, 1999, p.212 ) .
A cardinal component of postmodernist thought is the importance of linguistic communication. From a postmodern position it is the discourses that constitute societal and economic life ( Ferguson and Levalette, 1999 ) . Howe ( 1994, p.552 ) explains that “ Language, one time thought merely to reflect world, now appears to represent our world in an independent sphere of its ain which carries significance and civilization ” . The impression that power is embedded in linguistic communication offers scope for societal workers to critically reflect and challenge dominant discourses and premises to avoid perpetuating oppressive patterns ( Fook et al, 2000 ) . This highlights ‘the transformative capacity of critical postmodernism to better pattern and facilitate societal alteration ‘ ( Morley, 2004 p. 299 ) . However Ferguson and Levalette ( 1999 ) observe that new linguistic communication and nomenclature although a force for disputing oppressive classification, does non alter the stuff state of affairs person ‘s face.
In drumhead it is deserving sing how postmodern positions can be combined and developed to offer an attack to societal work that integrates “ diverseness and flexibleness of intending with the possibility of an ethical discourse that is shared instead than individualised ” ( Hugman 2003, p.1035 ) . ‘Critical postmodernism ‘ based on a constructionist attack, combines flexibleness of intending with the apprehension that society is socially constructed through the actions and relationships of its members ( Hugman, 2003 ) . In this sense postmodernism does non necessitate to compare to the disappearing of traditional societal work but nor does it necessitate to yield to a neo-liberal docket ( Sim, 1999 ) .
Ferguson and Lavalette ( 1999, p.28 ) in support of Leonard ( 1997 ) suggest another avenue in uniting the postmodernism and structural discourses, “ by uniting postmodernist subjects with socio economic developments ( informed by a ‘Marxian ‘ position on globalization and post-fordism ) , a rejuvenated ’emanicpatory ‘ societal work can be developed ” . Parton and O’Byrne 2000 ) discourse the application of an ‘affirmative ‘ postmodern societal work which opens up thought towards greater inclusion and less normative theories and methods of pattern. Ife ( 1999 ) and Pease and Fook ( 1999 ) besides back up a societal work that values diverseness and uncertainness but maintains a political battle towards societal justness based on a committedness to some cosmopolitan ethical and values. These theories offer a manner of pull offing a altering society without taking a incorporate cognition base or without coercing a postmodern retreat. In other words they provide a manner forward that incorporates the “ personal with the political so that both are integrated into a more relevant societal work discourse ” ( Noble, 2004, p.2 ) .
This text has gone some manner towards sketching postmodern positions of modern-day societal work. From this brief analysis we can see that societal work developed during the period of ‘enlightenment ‘ or the ‘age of modernness ‘ . As a consequence its focal point became the development of a cosmopolitan theoretical model that informs cognition in order to dispute societal subjugation. Changes within society have given rise to postmodern theories which offer societal work the possibility of a fluid, pluralistic attack that promotes diverseness and engagement through the cogency of all positions. As we have discussed neither of these attacks is without challenge or review.
Consideration has been given to the impact of postmodernism upon the public assistance province and therefore societal work, sketching concerns associating to a neo-liberal docket but oppugning at the same clip the suggested empacipatory nature and function of the province. The impact of postmodernism on anti-oppressive pattern has been debated and deductions for societal work considered. Decisions have been offered in the signifier of theories that combine postmodernism with elements of universalism and structural analysis. It has been clear throughout this journey that postmodernist theories have and continue to impact upon societal work pattern. In decision giving consideration to a postmodern position helps assists “ societal work to analyze the diverse, probationary and unsure nature of all facets of our universe, including cognition and accomplishments and values and moralss ” ( Hugman, 2003, p.1037 ) .