The End of Social Work: A Defense of the Social Worker in Times of Transformation (Paperback)
The End of Social Work: A Defense of the Social Worker in Times of Transformation explores the deeply flawed status quo of the social work profession. Its message is clear: it is not acceptable for social workers to labor under intolerable working conditions and financial strain because they work with the poor and oppressed.
Steve Burghardt addresses why social workers no longer have the income and status once shared with nurses and teachers. He addresses the leadership failures that cause social workers to be blamed for not ending poverty yet expected to handle burnout through self-care rather than collective action. He looks beyond nostrums of social justice to the indifference to systemic racism in the profession's journals and programs and explores the damage caused by substituting individuated measures of unvalidated competencies for grounded wisdom in practice. It is thus no accident that a profession committing to "care for everyone" undermines the herculean work that so many social workers do on behalf of the poor, marginalized, and oppressed.
Situating the work in the crises of 2020, Burghardt ends with a proposed call to action directed at a transformed profession. Such a campaign would be situated within the national struggles for racial justice, climate change, and economic equality so that social work and social workers regain their legitimacy as authentic advocates fighting alongside the poor and oppressed-and doing so for themselves as well.
A rallying cry for social work itself, The End of Social Work is an ideal resource for social work programs and practicing social workers driven to enact meaningful change.