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Price: $74.95

Paperback 432 pp.
5 figures; 15 tables, 7" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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The New Structural Social Work: Ideology, Theory, and Practice

Fourth Edition

Bob Mullaly and Marilyn Dupré

An up-to-date and thorough investigation of progressive social work theory

This fully updated edition explores the shortcomings of welfare capitalism and reveals how conventional social work fails to respond to systemic social problems. By presenting a coherent theory of progressive social work with oppression as its focus, this text shows how students can incorporate a radical alternative to conventional social work within their own practice.

Readership : Students at universities and colleges taking mid- to upper-level social work courses focused on social work theory, critical social work theory, theory and ideology of social work, and structural social work.


  • "A necessary and timely book that engages students in critical inquiry about Canadian and global economic and political systems, societies, governments, and the social work profession."
    --Susan Hillock, Trent University

  • "This is an excellent resource for theory and the application of principles of structural social work. The book clearly explains theory and then goes on to demonstrate how it can be applied in real-life practical contexts."
    --Anne Wagner, Nipissing University

Note: Every chapter includes:
- Introduction
- Conclusion
- Critical Questions
Part One: In Search of a Paradigm
1. The Social Work Vision: A Progressive View
Conventional and Progressive Perspectives within Social Work
Need for a Progressive Social Work Vision
The Fundamental Values of Social Work
The Secondary (Instrumental) Values of Social Work
A Progressive Perspective of Social Work Ideology
Social Work and Social Problems
The Ideal Social Welfare System: A Progressive View
2. Capitalism, Crises, and Paradigms
The Changing Face of Capitalism
The Globalization Thesis
The Crisis of the Welfare State in an Age of Globalization
Social Work in Crisis
Hopeful Signs
The Concepts of Ideology and Paradigm
Utility of the Paradigm Concept for Social Work
3. The Neo-Conservative Paradigm
Views of the Nature of Humans, Society, the State, Social Justice, and Social Change
Social Beliefs
Economic Beliefs
Political Beliefs
View of Social Problems
View of Social Welfare
Social Work Practice within the Neo-Conservative Paradigm
Critique of the Neo-Conservative Paradigm
4. The Liberal and Neo-Liberal Paradigms
Views of the Nature of Humans, Society, the State, Social Justice, and Social Change
Social Beliefs
Economic Beliefs
Political Beliefs
View of Social Problems
View of Social Welfare
Social Work Practice within the Liberal Paradigm
Canada as a Liberal State
Critique of the Liberal Paradigm
Liberal Hegemony in Social Work
5. The Social Democratic Paradigm
Social Democracy
Views of the Nature of Humans, Society, the State, Social Justice, and Social Change
Social Beliefs
Economic Beliefs
Political Beliefs
View of Social Problems
View of Social Welfare
Social Work Practice within the Social Democratic Paradigm
Critique of the Social Democratic Paradigm
Current Status of Social Democracy in Three Anglo-Democracies
6. The Marxist Paradigm
Views of the Nature of Humans, Society, the State, Social Justice, and Social Change
Social Beliefs
Economic Beliefs
Political Beliefs
View of Social Problems
View of Social Welfare
Social Work Practice within the Marxist Paradigm
Critique of the Marxist Paradigm
Contributions of Marxism to Social Work in Anglo-Democracies
7. Feminist, Anti-Racist, and Postmodern Critiques
Feminist Critique
Anti-Racist Critique
Postmodern Critique
Part Two: Structural Social Work Theory and Oppression
8. A Reconstructed Theory of Structural Social Work
Socialist Ideology
The Heritage of Structural Social Work Theory
The Imperative of Theory for Social Work
Order and Conflict/Change Perspectives
Structural Social Work as a Critical Social Theory
The Dialectic in Structural Social Work
Structural Social Work: A Conceptual Framework
9. Oppression: The Focus of Structural Social Work
The Nature of Oppression
Oppression as a Social Justice Issue
The Origins of Modern-Day Oppression and the Politics of Identity
The Dynamics of Oppression
Levels of Oppression
The Multiplicity and Persistence of Oppression
Forms of Oppression
Oppression as Structural Violence
Responses of Oppressed People to Their Oppression
Structural Social Work with Oppressed Groups
10. Overview of Privilege NEW
The Nature of Privilege
Dynamics of Privilege
Personal, Cultural, and Structural Levels of Privilege
Why Dominant Groups Do Not See Privilege as a Problem
A Taxonomy of Everyday Examples of Unearned Privilege
Social Work and Privilege
What Can We Do?
Pedagogy of Privilege
Part Three: Structural Social Work: Practice Elements
11. Working Within (and Against) the System: Radical Humanism
Working with Service Users
In the Belly of the Beast: Surviving and Changing the Workplace
12. Working Outside (and Against) the System: Radical Structuralism and Working within Ourselves
Working Outside and Against the System
Challenging and Resisting the Dominant Order
The Moral Premise of Social Welfare: Universal Human Needs
Working within Ourselves
Making the Political Personal in Our Own Lives

E-Book ISBN 9780199022953

Bob Mullaly is senior scholar and former dean in the Faculty of Social Work at University of Manitoba. Previously, he taught in the Department of Social Work at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, and in the social work program that he founded at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He has co-authored the recent third edition of Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege with Juliana West (OUP Canada, 2018).

Marilyn Dupré is assistant professor and director of the School of Social Work at St. Thomas University. She has previously taught in social work departments at Carleton University and University of Manitoba. Marilyn has published articles in Social Work Education, and her research interests include structural social work theory and practice, critical anti-oppressive theory and practice, and critical disability studies and social work education. In addition to her scholarship, she has a long history of in-service social work practice, including four years as the child welfare program manager for the Government of New Brunswick.

Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege - Bob Mullaly and Juliana West
Anti-Oppressive Social Work - Gary C. Dumbrill and June Ying Yee
Advocacy in Practice - Shelley Rempel
Social Policy in Canada - Ernie Lightman and Naomi Lightman
Connecting Policy to Practice in the Human Services - Brad McKenzie and The late Brian Wharf
Modern Social Work Theory - Malcolm Payne

Special Features

  • Comprehensive overview of social work theory, including its fundamental values; social, economic and political beliefs; and practice principles.
  • Balances theory and practice, combining theoretical discourse with concrete real-life examples.
  • Analyzes ideological paradigms in relation to social work ideals, including the demise of the welfare state under the governments led by Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Stephen Harper (Ch. 2) and the current status of social democracy in the UK, the USA, and Canada (Ch. 5).
  • Provocative strategies for working "within" and "outside" the system discuss how to radicalize and democratize social service organizations and reaffirm that social work is about transformation at all levels.
  • Helpful pedagogy makes the material accessible to students.
  • - Text boxes include asides on theory, the authors' personal reflections, and case examples from their practice.
  • - Tables outline the social, economic, and political beliefs of the neo-conservative, liberal, neo-liberal, social democratic, and Marxist paradigms to help reinforce student learning.
  • - Discussion questions in each chapter encourage students to think about key concepts and issues through a critical lens.
New to this Edition
  • A new chapter on privilege explores what it is, how it intersects with other forms of oppression, and offers strategies to confront and unsettle systems of privilege. (Ch. 10)
  • Fully updated to reflect current progressive social work theories, trends, and issues, including Occupy Wall Street (p. 344), Idle No More (p. 59), Black Lives Matter (p. 346), intersectionality (p. 269), and Progressive Codes of Ethics for social workers (pp. 11-12).
  • New and expanded coverage on Marxist influences on progressive social work (Ch. 6); queer theory (Ch. 7); social inequality experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada (Ch. 9), and more.
  • Rearranged chapter order provides a more logical flow of material.