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"This book sheds a very bright light on poverty as a central experience of the people social workers work with. Research and theories of power, politics and values are thoroughly discussed and provide the basis for a sustained commitment to social justice. The book is a supportive read as it skilfully appreciates the personal challenges that critical and assertive practice entails. It is a book for students, professionals and service leads to keep, re-read and savour." Dr Tillie Curran, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of the West of England, UK "By identifying power, poverty, politics and values as core themes in social work, this text offers us a refreshing perspective which will challenge students and practitioners alike to re-evaluate their practice in the light of its wider social, political and philosophical contexts. Through an exploration of issues of power and an interrogation of the real meaning of social work ethics and values, Sheedy motivates and encourages us to reflect on our practice and to ensure that it is truly person-centred." Dr Sue Taplin, University of Nottingham, UK "This book offers a concise and coherent discussion of what should be core themes in thoughtful and careful social work practice. It offers a journey towards rethinking and embracing effective critical practice, which engages with human rights and social justice as much as with empowerment and with individual and interpersonal change. Occasional student accounts, coupled with use of key points and questions for discussion make for accessibility. The book synthesises, summarises and critiques ideas about how to understand and resolve social issues, enabling readers to question how they might work creatively alongside service users. It is a book which invites reflection on policy and practice." Professor Michael Preston-Shoot, Dean, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, UK "This excellent text is essential reading for all social workers and students, and a key resource for academics. It highlights - with concern and conviction - the importance of developing an effective critical practice that 'challenges, enhances and broadens the task of conventional social work' in ways that have 'the potential to improve outcomes for service users'. It calls for a social work practice based on an understanding of the issues of power, politics and ideology - and the values and 'world view' held by the worker - linked with concerns raised by the people that social workers regularly encounter and work with. The issues of 'poverty and disadvantage' and their structural causes run throughout this text - issues that have been too long neglected in social work. In this text, Martin Sheedy corrects that neglect by outlining in some detail the impact of poverty on people's lives and life chances whilst at the same time describing how critical practice can be used by social workers to promote social justice and empowerment practices." Dr Pamela Trevithick, Visiting Professor in Social Work, Buckinghamshire New University, UK This engaging book introduces the core themes in social work, and encourages students and practitioners to connect with the important debates surrounding these themes and challenges them to revisit the direction social work is and should be going in. The key contexts of social work are explored using knowledge from the disciplines of social theory, politics, sociology, psychology and ethics. The content is enlivened by: The voices of students, service users and practitioners Current and topical content on social work, poverty, politics, power and values A discussion style format to help readers engage with the topics An extensive range of sources of knowledge and theory Key summary points at the end of each chapter Group discussion questions at the end of each chapterThis book will contribute to social work students' and practitioners' thinking about the world in which they live and operate as professionals.