An ecologically centred approach in social work: Towards transformative change

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

5754 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of an accelerating global environmental crisis that threatens the ecology upon which life on Earth depends, there is an urgent imperative to reposition social work as an ecologically responsible profession. This thesis aims to explore how an ecologically centred approach can transform social work, particularly in relation to education, professional practice and the developing conceptualisation of ecosocial work. Using a critical research paradigm, qualitative research methodologies are used to examine ecosocial work education strategies and potential practice frameworks. Key findings indicate the need for transformative change within social work involving a fundamental re-orientation away from human-centred perceptions, towards a worldview that reflects humankind’s interdependence with the natural world. A range of elements central to ecosocial work, as well as concerns that impede the development of ecosocial work, are identified. This thesis culminates by proposing a model for transformative ecosocial change, which articulates a consistent philosophical base across the ontological (being), epistemological (thinking) and methodological (doing) dimensions of practice. Implications for social work centre upon the need to challenge fixed assumptions, and to develop approaches in education and practice that challenge the prevailing, dominant, modernist discourse.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Bowles, Wendy, Principal Supervisor
  • McKinnon, Jennifer, Principal Supervisor
Award date01 Jun 2017
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'An ecologically centred approach in social work: Towards transformative change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this