Eco-spiritual Social Work as a Precondition for Social Development

Ethics and Social Welfare 4 (1):3-23 (2010)
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This article debates the possibility that social work as a profession can, if it is not vigilant to the underlying premises of social development, contribute to the promotion of social injustice towards the same people it sets out to empower by unwittingly depleting and destroying the environment. Social development with its strong focus on economic development is driven mainly by modernity as a worldview. Values from this view underline aspects such as the natural environment as resource, economic growth and domination over nature. Although some definitions of social development might include the concept of sustainability, thereby implying that the environment is an important issue, this level of work does not require social workers to practise from an eco-spiritual or a deep ecological point of departure. An eco-spiritual social work approach is harnessed to try and explain social work's contribution to the critical issue of the survival of all species. Guidelines and possible actions from an eco-spiritual social work approach are indicated for a shift from that of fitting in with modernity to one of sustainability and participation in the creativity of the environment



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