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Timeline :: Wootten criticises social work

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In 1959, Barbara Wootten (later Baroness), sociologist and criminologist and Professor at Bedford College for Women from 1948, published a book that was highly critical of social work, and particularly of casework. In Social Science and Social Pathology, Wootten argued that charity had been exchanged for psychology, resulting in an increase in courtesy on the part of the social worker towards the client, but at the price of a ‘fantastically pretentious facade’.  She mocked the idea of a casework relationship, commenting that the social worker’s best hope of realising it lay in marrying her client! She also argued that the notion of a ‘professional relationship’ between a worker and client was a ‘chimera’. She concluded that in the modern welfare state, the place of the social work was properly to offer practical help to the poor and less 'privileged' section of the community in the use of the new services that were provided (Wootten, 1959, quoted in Lewis, 1996: 218).