Post-Anthropocentric Social Work: Transformative Philosophy for Contemporary Theory and Practice

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Social work, as a profession and as an academic discipline, is based on principles of respect for diversity, equity, beneficence, non-maleficence and collective responsibility. Through critical reflection on systems of structural oppression, social work aims to resist oppression through transformative action and to work for sustainable improvements to wellbeing and justice for all. From an affirmative, creative, and hopeful stance, this chapter explores post-anthropocentrism and posthumanism as transformative paradigms for evolving contemporary social work. Before engaging with these paradigms, the modernist, anthropocentric foundations of conventional mainstream social work are considered in the context of persistent global inequities and injustices. A rationale for the transformation of social work is then articulated as the foundation for a reimagined future for the evolving profession, beyond the anthropocene. Using relational ethics as a compass, key aspects of transformative social work are conceptualised drawing from post-anthropocentric and critical posthumanist theory. To close the chapter, some broader implications are explored including the possibilities
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Work Theory and Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationIdeas in Practice
EditorsDorothee Holscher, Richard Hugman, Donna McAuliffe
Pages121 - 140
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811910159
ISBN (Print)9789811910142
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 2023


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