This unit of study requires students to review and critically reflect in depth on social work theory and practice. It will take a critically reflective approach to further develop and consolidate students' generic knowledge, skills and practice theories by examining some of the newer developments in social work theory (critical social work including anti-oppressive social work, critical reflection, critical postmodernism, social constructivism, international social work and social movement activism). This unit will assist students to develop a practice for life-long learning and critical reflection in order to be able to respond to more complex issues in practice. A critical framework for evaluating effectiveness of self as well as knowledge and practice skills will be explored in the current debates about social work's efficacy and its future role in the helping professions.

Unit details

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ASW2202 - Social Work Theories

96 credit points of first year core ABSW units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Contextualise key critical theoretical perspectives and place these in settings such as historical, cultural, political, economic and social environments;  
  2. Critique a range of critical social work theories and analyse their efficacy in social work practice contexts;  
  3. Discuss critically, the complexities, ambiguities, uncertainties and challenges of the contemporary social structures that impact on clients' lives and the implications for social work practice; and  
  4. Contextualise a critical practice framework to a specific situation to demonstrate professional-appropriate reflexivity.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Review of readings linked to current issue (1,000words) submitted in 3 parts 25%
Project 'Whiteness' Inventory and reflection (1,000words) 35%
Presentation Film Study and Creative Project (4-minute presentation per individual, 2000 word equivalent) 40%

Required reading

Engaging with Social Work 2nd ed.
Morley, C., Macfarlane, S & Ablett, P., (2019)
Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne

This textbook will be used in other units, including field work (ASW4002 and ASW4004) and the course capstone unit. This textbook will be used in other units including those related to field work and the course capstone unit . Additional reading materials are documented in the Unit Guide and provided on VU Collaborate.

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