University of Vermont
Department of Social Work
434 Waterman Building
Burlington, Vermont 05405
phone: (802) 656-8800
fax: (802) 656-8565
Stanley Witkin is a professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington Vermont, USA. He joined the department in 1991 serving as its first permanent Chair until 1998. During that period, he led the development of the first MSW program in the U.S. with a social constructionist orientation.
Stanley has been a Fulbright scholar at the University of Lapland (Finland) and at University College – Dublin and Trinity College in Dublin. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Newcastle (Australia), the University of York (UK), and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Lapland.
He is the president and co-founder of the Global Partnership for Transformative Social Work (www.gptsw.net) an organization that invites and supports dialogue on transformative inquiry, practice, and pedagogy for the purpose of contributing to a more humane, tolerant, and peaceful world.
Dr. Witkin holds a B.A. in social welfare from the University of Minnesota and M.S.S.W. and Ph.D. degrees (social welfare) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Lapland.
Current publications of note include Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Interpretations and Innovations (2011) Columbia University Press, and Social Work Dialogues (edited with Dennis Saleebey) (2007) Council on Social Work Education Press. His newest edited book, Narrating Social Work Through Autoethnography will be published by Columbia University Press in 2013.
Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of
Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Interpretations and Innovations
edited by Stanley Witkin.
"A work to be celebrated-an exciting feast of challenging, passionate, and informative contributions to social work practice. Here we move away from the traditional regimentation of relationship-along with its categories, testing, and measurements-to working pragmatically and resourcefully with clients in context. These offerings illuminate and expand upon the rich potentials of a constructionist orientation to relating effectively with challenges to change. I am deeply impressed."
-Kenneth J. Gergen, president, The Taos Institute
Social construction addresses the cultural factors and social dynamics that give rise to and maintain values and beliefs. Drawing on postmodern philosophies and critical, social, and literary theories, social construction has become an important and influential framework for practice and research within social work and related fields. Embracing inclusivity and multiplicity, social construction provides a framework for knowledge and practice that is particularly congruent with social work values and aims.
In this accessible collection, Stanley L Witkin showcases the innovative ways in which social construction may be understood and expressed in practice. He calls on experienced practitioner-scholars to share their personal accounts of interpreting and applying social constructionist ideas in different settings (such as child welfare agencies, schools, and the courts) and with diverse clientele (such as "resistant" adolescents, disadvantaged families, indigenous populations, teachers, children in protective custody, refugee youth, and adult perpetrators of sexual crimes against children). Eschewing the prescriptive stance of most theoretical frameworks, social construction can seem challenging for students and practitioners. This book responds with rich, illustrative descriptions of how social constructionist thinking has inspired practice approaches, illuminating the diversity and creative potential of practices that draw on social constructionist ideas.
Writing in a direct, accessible style, contributors translate complex concepts into the language of daily encounter and care, and through a committed transnational focus they demonstrate the global reach and utility of their work. Chapters are provocative and thoughtful, reveal great suffering and courage, share inspiring stories of strength and renewal, and acknowledge the challenges of an approach that complicates evidence-based evaluations and requirements.
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