Does Social Work Need the Eco-Systems Perspective?

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This is the second part of a two-part article in which I analyze the arguments for the eco-systems perspective. In Part 1, published in the March 1996 issue of this journal, I examined four arguments for the clinical usefulness of the perspective and found them to be invalid. Here, I consider three arguments for the conceptual usefulness of the perspective: (1) it is needed to make social work a coherent profession; (2) it is needed to adequately identify the unique domain of social work; and, (3) it is merely a way of looking at things and not a theory or model, so it can be used without empirical support. A close examination of these arguments demonstrates that they, too, are invalid and that the claimed conceptual usefulness of the perspective is an illusion. The conceptual benefits can be achieved only by further clarification of the purpose of social work and by directing practice interventions at that purpose. There is no need to add a generic theory or perspective to the profession's purpose and practice methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)X-213
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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