Social work history displays that the desire of social justice is both a task and a myth for employees and their immediate predecessors in organizations. This study provides a critical analysis of Janet Finn's and Maxine Jacobson's work titled "Just Practice." The great focus is on the first and the third chapter where their contributions and critical omissions are identified. Finn and Jacobson have worked hard to illustrate the historical development of social work, which was largely premised on charity for the poor (Finn, & Jacobson, 2003). In both chapters, they have elaborated in length on how social work came into being. Ideally, social work history revolves around the industrial revolution and the way the rise of capitalism created a gap between the rich and the poor. In the first chapter, the role of Charity Organization Societies and Settlement House Movement as the pioneers of social work has been elucidated clearly. Although they have elucidated much information relating to the historical developments of social work, the authors omitted the roles played by smaller and independent groups like African-American benevolent societies of New Orleans in the social and charity works in the U.S.
Whilst appreciating the role social work to the community, the authors have taken their time to define what social work is and how it all became an invaluable practice. Besides considering social work as a profession, all the players in the social work activity must do their best to restore the societal conditions so that all individuals can live well. They have also cited various sources showing that the need to enhance the well-being of all members in the community is essential. While developing our understanding on how social work came to be, two groups are shown to have pioneered scientific philanthropy: Charity Organization Societies and Settlement House Movement (Leiby, 1978). The efforts of the authors must be appreciated although they erred by showing that the two were pioneer groups in social work. The two organizations were established in the 1900s (Reisch, & Andrews, 2014). Anyone reading the book for the first time would have a skewed knowledge about the history of this noble course. While going through the two chapters, I expected to see the authors mentioning the creation of the Almhouses built in Philadelphia in the 1700s. Together with the New York's Poor House of 1736, the facilities played a critical role in fostering the comfortable settlements for the vulnerable people in the society. As early as 1900 Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, and the Catholic Worker Houses had been established (Leiby, 1978). I tend to believe that the authors ignored such invaluable historical facts in their book.
The role played by the two groups in the social work cannot be downplayed to such extent. Why do I say so? The African-Americans (largely Zulus) in New Orleans had a hard time settling and fitting to the society. It is shown that many of them were professional comedian who entertained the residents. Even with all the "good things" they did, their dignity and rights were not respected. In fact, many of them were abused physically by the whites who paid the do wander around as though they were homeless. Such a contribution by the Social Aid and Pleasure Club in New Orleans would not have been omitted to such an extent by the authors.
In the two chapters, the authors have shown how social work was transformed into a profession. Jane Addams (1889) is shown to have been the leading professional social worker. Although it is an invaluable content to the book, the authors omitted other people who might be considered as true pioneers to social work and its professionalism (Finn, & Jacobson, 2003). While going through the chapters, I expected to see Arnold Toynbee, who pioneered university settlement in 1884, Octavia Hill known for spearheading housing and home visits in 1864, and Elizabeth Fry recognized as the angel of the prisons in 1878. Including such people to the book would enrich the contents especially in the development of professionalism in social work (Leiby, 1978).
The conceptualization of social justice includes three dimensions: individual relations, laws and social amenities, and international human relations (Lundy & Lundy, 2011). The chapter indicates that different dimensions need different ways to accomplish social justice. For instance, the human relations perspective requires that everyone recognize and treat all human beings as subjects, entitled to equal human rights rather than as an item to be taken over and utilized. In the social principles and organizations angle, methods include social policies recognizing and meeting personal need (Finn, & Jacobson, 2003).
The authors' knowledge on this topic in incredible. As seen from the way they address the issue of social work and its professionalism, I can confidently say that they are knowledgeable. They have shown that for social justice to be effective, it must be considered within particular situations or customs. Efforts must discover a generalizable or globally accepted description to lead to impractical and abstract rendering of the concept. The significance of social justice suggested here symbolizes a multi-dimensional approach as recommended by the writers, put within the context of the practice of social work (Barusch, 2009). Recent explorations in the explication of social rights determined that a precise description of social justice is yet to be discovered. They have also identified the four dimensions for a successful social practice: expert principles, procedures, results, and communities. They have even encouraged people to view social justice in a contextual manner.
The authors have used different sources to support their arguments and ideas relating to social work as practice and profession. In the third chapter, they have highlighted the different ways that the social work profession can make use of history. Although using a historical model in conducting professional social work activities, they have shown that it relies on in the development of an infrastructure for producing such knowledge (Reisch, & Andrews, 2014). The authors have spent their time in the chapter to the evolution of uses of history in social work. In the early years, social work used history as the leading model for practice, beginning with the Charity Organizations Society (COS) group. By the late 19th century, leaders of COS were happy about the achievements of history in fields like science, engineering, and biology (Finn & Jacobson, 2003). The idea of using a historical approach in social work fit appropriately in the justification of the emerging charity movements. The authors desired to give guidance and assistance to the poor in a business like and efficient way. In this manner, the argument was whether the changes could cope successfully with the increasing urban poverty. Besides, the models enabled the authors to show how discrimination, poverty, and oppression of the poor pioneered the establishment of various social work and charity (Barusch, 2009).
The authors have shown consistency in presenting their ideas relating to social work. The success is ideally premised on how they introduced their argument. The authors have shown that social and charity works were largely influenced by the existence by social problems previously identified as poverty, oppression, and discrimination (Lundy & Lundy, 2011). In the third chapter, the authors have identified some of the factors that created the social problems. They include the rise of capitalism, industrialization, immigration, uncontrolled migration to urban centers, and the concentration of power to the hands of the few. I believe that the authors did well by identifying such factors. After all, wouldn't it be incomplete to know about the success and development of social work and charity without knowing the factors that caused the social ills in the first place? The authors deserve some accolades here!
As a result, the hunt of social justice is not just a moral concept or practice concept in the form of a…