Governing Risk pp 164-181 | Cite as

Risk, Uncertainty and Blame in Contemporary Practice



In this chapter I discuss the implications of the foregoing analysis for practice, but also for debates regarding practice, including how best to understand the nature of social work and, following on from this, how it should be undertaken. This entails returning to the themes which emerged in Chapter 1 regarding the nature and function of social work and the various enduring debates which characterise them. As we have seen, there is no consensus regarding how best to understand and undertake social work. Instead, there is something of a schism between those who believe that social work is, or should be regarded as, a broadly artistic activity based upon informal knowledge sources and the operation of discretion and those who believe it is, or should be seen as, a more systematic and rigorous endeavour which entails the application of broadly scientific principles and methods. These orientations filter through to the level of paradigmatic affiliations, including ontological and epistemological assumptions, and distinctive approaches to practice, including how best to respond to risk. The foregoing analysis has implications along both of these dimensions, concerning how best to conceptualise the role and function of social work and how it might achieve its aims.


Social Work Risk Aversion Service User Service Failure Foregoing Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Mark Hardy 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of YorkUK

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