Poverty-aware social work: A paradigm for social work practice with people in poverty

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This article presents a new paradigm for social work with poor people called the poverty-aware social work paradigm (PAP). The paradigm offers an updated connection between social work and the current body of knowledge known as new welfare theorising or critical poverty knowledge. The paradigm consists of three interrelated facets: ontological (concerned with the questions: What is poverty? What are the essential characteristics of service users?), epistemological (What is considered to be knowledge? How do we come to know and evaluate the situation?) and axiological (What are the ethical stances that should be taken in regard to poverty?). These three facets mutually influence one another, and together shape the way in which practice is conducted, while practice itself influences and shapes these components as well. PAP is presented against the background of current social work paradigms that currently dominate the field: the conservative and the structural.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1793-1808
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Critical social work
  • Poverty
  • Poverty-aware social work
  • Social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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