Post-conventional social work

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


Social work, as a global profession, has human rights and social justice at its heart. However it is argued that foundation theory at the ontological level has been somewhat neglected in social work at times resulting in a reliance on conventional, modernist theoretical perspectives. This reliance is highly problematic for social work in that conventional approaches are typically comprised of a series of hierarchical dualisms. These can serve to naturalise individualism and oppression and as such, conventional approaches are at odds with core social work aims and values. It is a challenge for twenty-first century social work to consolidate a distinct foundation theory for social work efforts towards social justice and human rights. This chapter explores the capacity of post-conventional theory to conceptualise collectivity, diversity, equity, interdependence and sustainability. It is argued that post-conventional theory is more consistent with social work in the twenty-first century at ontological, epistemological and methodological levels.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial work
Subtitle of host publicationInnovations and insights
EditorsManohar Pawar, Wendy Bowles, Karen Bell
Place of PublicationNorth Melbourne, Vic
PublisherAustralian Scholarly Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781925801286
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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