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Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: L500
Although social work as an international profession has begun to take spirituality seriously as part of its professional discourse and commitment to best practice, in the UK there has been considerable reluctance to regard it positively.\ud This thesis argues for a comprehensive understanding of spirituality that relates to deep, human themes including meaning and purpose, mystery and awe, concepts which are by no means limited to, or restricted by, religious perspectives. Spirituality, it is argued, is ‘what we do to give expression to our chosen world-view’, and as such is an all-encompassing concept that helps us understand and appreciate the positive and negative aspects of humanity. The author builds upon and develops existing theoretical perspectives to demonstrate the relevance of spirituality to the professional social work discourse. A ‘co-creative’ /action research methodology was adopted to enable key ‘players’ in social work education and practice (students, academics, practitioners, service users and carers) to ‘co-create’ and own a theoretical framework that would enable spirituality fulfil a key role in the social work curriculum. The author’s new strap-line for social work -celebrating diversity with social justice - argues for an understanding of spirituality that is all-encompassing in its scope, and recognises the ways in which spirituality can be both a positive and negative influence at a wider level in society. His discussion of the key concept of authentic and inauthentic spirituality demonstrates its relevance to the core social work values of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice. The discussion of workplace well-being in the thesis is a further distinctive development of the author’s understanding of spirituality and the contribution it can make to social work theory and practice.
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