By Brij Mohan (eds.)
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Extra info for Global Frontiers of Social Development in Theory and Practice: Climate, Economy, and Justice
Professionalized social work is thus a tool of postindustrial society that thrives on its therapeutic impulses—controlling, disciplining, and punishing the people it seeks to serve. Masquerading in myriads of venerated attires, equipped with diplomas and licenses, these practitioners basically thrive on their “client’s” helplessness. An elephant became a subject of specialized inquiry in a big social lab by a multitude of experts who studied the creature piecemeal without understanding each other, defiling rather 10 Brij Mohan than healing the subject.
The shamans of primitive medicine had no “clients,” perhaps no slaves either. But they did help, as the history of psychiatry reveals (Mohan, 1973). Social work’s evolution from raw sympathy delivered through a myriad of charities to professional “practice” is devoid of empathy and authenticity. As a “helping profession,” it has assumed a godly status without any commitment for the resolution of the causes of social-personal miseries. A professional obsession with evidence-based practice betrays a sense of humanity and reason.
It was the big discovery of the Enlightenment, incubating to its full size in the post-revolutionary world. It had to be approached cautiously and reverently, but it had to be plied into service for man—for man in society—for mankind as a whole. (Becker, 1974: 10) Postwar era served as an institutional incubator for assistance needed by individuals and families in crisis. Social services evolved as a response to the anxieties triggered by the ghosts of an egalitarian philosophy that called for universal rights, equality, and justice for all.