Saving Social Work from Itself : The Future of Social Work: Seven Pillars of Practice


When the idea of ‘future of work’ has become the centre of virulent debate these days, the idea of ‘social work’ cannot escape the chatter. That’s what Prof. Brij Mohan has done in his new book. The book has received much acclaim for its boldness and erudition.

One of the reviewers says, this book may well save the profession of social work from losing its bearings. This is not so much about the quality and ambition of people in it but whether they are capable of asking the right questions about the source and motivation of the funds, funders and technologies that many disrupt this noble profession.

From a scenario of scarcity of funds a decade ago, philanthropy today is flush with funds thanks to philanthro-capitalists. There’s a real fear that the new generation of billionaires-with-heart may start dictating who and how social work should function especially in developing and poor countries.

The author has therefore called for a return to the core values and principles of human-centered social practice, against dehumanizing patronizing practice, by going back to the roots. The roots, the author believes is contained in the seven principles he illustrates in the book: mission, education, service, empathetic humility, liberatory assistance, transparent effectiveness and buoyance.

Just like future of work, technology is certain to disrupt the field of social work. The book does offer a guide on how to address it, but, understandably, may have fewer answers. Brij Mohan contends that designing obsolescence is crucial for progress.

The book warns against academic complacence and shows how radical transformation is necessary to prevent inevitable alienation, avarice, and anger in a techno-scientific world.

About the author

Brij Mohan is Dean Emeritus, School of Social Work, Louisiana State University, USA. Having taught at Lucknow University for over a decade (1964–1975), he moved to the United States of America where he served at the University of Wisconsin and Louisiana State University. He’s the founding editor of the Journal of Comparative Social Welfare (now published as Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy).

Fieldwork in Social Work Education: A Manual for Educators and Students

by Joselyn T Lobo, 2017, ATC Publishers

The purpose of this manual, as the author says, is to ensure high standards in how fieldwork is designed and practiced by institutions and its students. A lack of a manual has resulted in poor outcomes affecting the practice of ‘social work’ in India. It’s of great help for newer institutions that don’t have the experience in organizing the fieldwork, which is perhaps the most important learning opportunity for students.

Evaluation and supervision are critical elements in fieldwork. The author, a veteran in this field, has shared his personal experience in a succinct manner.

The author is Associate Professor of Social Work at Roshni Nilaya, Mangalore.

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