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Social Justice as Concept and Practice in Australian Social Work: An Analysis of Norma Parker Addresses, 19692008


Taylor, SD and Vreugdenhil, A and Schneiders, MA, Social Justice as Concept and Practice in Australian Social Work: An Analysis of Norma Parker Addresses, 1969-2008, Australian Social Work, 70, (sup1) pp. 46-68. ISSN 0312-407X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Australian Association of Social Workers

DOI: doi:10.1080/0312407X.2014.973554


Social justice is central to Australian social work. Principles of social justice underpin the definition of social work as a profession, its code of ethics, and its standards of practice and education. However, there is a dearth of empirical research regarding what social justice has meant to social work over time and how it has been enacted in practice, topical as social inequalities continue to escalate. As a first-stage study, this paper examines how social justice was represented within 19 Norma Parker Addresses delivered by Presidents of the Australian Association of Social Workers at national conferences between 1969 and 2008. Two key themes were evident: social justice as a concept and social justice as social work practice. Social justice was represented conceptually throughout the Addresses as an enduring guiding principle and moral responsibility for social work. How social justice was enacted in practice included themes of: standpoint; practices and strategies; educating social workers; and contested and constrained practice. The meanings and practices of social justice were embedded within the changing contexts within which the Addresses were delivered. Further historical studies can inform social work knowledge, practice, and critical reflection as the profession continues to evolve and confront persistent social justice challenges.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Social Justice, Social Work History, Social Work, Social Work Practice, Australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Taylor, SD (Professor Sandy Taylor)
UTAS Author:Vreugdenhil, A (Associate Professor Anthea Vreugdenhil)
UTAS Author:Schneiders, MA (Ms Mara Schneiders)
ID Code:106239
Year Published:2017 (online first 2015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2016-02-02
Last Modified:2018-01-25

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