In this section we will review two important areas that influence social work greatly:
Many of the approaches to social work have their roots in the social sciences. Sociology, psychology and social policy have long historical connections with social work education. Sociology and psychology could be very simply described as being the study of societies and the study of the human mind and behaviour, respectively.
Social policy is a newer discipline and involves studying the way in which systems of taxation, benefits and service provision are organised and the ideas that lie behind such systems.
You will find that social science knowledge is often interwoven through your studies and you may not even be aware that you are studying ‘sociology’, ‘psychology’ or ‘social policy’.
Another very broad area of knowledge is law. Social workers’ roles are bound by the law, even those who do not work for statutory organisations like social services.
The law sets out what social workers’ duties and powers are, what they must do (a duty) and what they are permitted to do (a power). For example, social workers employed by statutory and voluntary agencies are bound by law relating to human rights and discrimination.