By Thomas Ryan PhD (eds.)
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Additional resources for Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter
And of course, focusing only on one main topic area, whilst perhaps being a more efficient way to capitalise on research efforts, may mean that different strands of research are not brought together in a way that might foster more creative ways of understanding complex phenomena. This narrowness is enhanced by ‘scientific’ orientations to research that value measurement-based methodologies, and thus counter more open-ended ways to understanding experience. In turn, focusing on problem-driven or ‘applied’ topics can also draw attention away from the everyday.
I think it is sometimes assumed in social work that unless our research is focused directly on problem-solving or program development that it is somehow not ‘applied’ enough (and therefore not really social work). I would argue that social work is one of the few professions that can and should try to see the people in their entire context; this means understanding from the point of view of the mainstream, as well as how specific and diverse populations and experiences fit with this. This also, of course, assists in developing preventative programmes and policies.
In addition, increased knowledge about and risks of zoonotic diseases that mutually affect all animals, including humans, are challenging the traditional academic boundaries of the ‘helping’ professions, including social work. The contemporary unsettling of the traditional material and theoretical terrains of both local and global health realities highlights the accumulative failures of conventional health fields and disciplines to solve or resolve the various problems and issues they address within the existing modernist worldview: The world has become a global community, made up of villages as small as a group of bandas in rural Tanzania and as large as the 32 Integrative Health Thinking and the One Health Concept 33 13 million people in Mumbai, India.
Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter by Thomas Ryan PhD (eds.)