Why psychosocial thinking is critical

Authored by: Liz Frost

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138578432
eBook ISBN: 9781351264402
Adobe ISBN:


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The title of this chapter is really a statement, with a question inscribed in it, and a double meaning at its heart. It seeks to both answer ‘why is psychosocial theory critical?’ and argue that psychosocial theory is critical, in the sense of challenging orthodoxy, and in the sense of urgent and necessity. The short answer that will be advanced here is this: without engaging with people as subject to unequal forms of social power, interwoven with individual, affective struggles and troubles, you cannot hope to understand the complexities of human existence, let alone human existence in which some people are clearly experiencing forms of social suffering.

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