SOCIAL WORK, GOVERNMENT, AND SOCIAL WELFARE: THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT
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The objectives of this study are (1)to trace the evolution of ideologies that preceded the welfare state in the United States, (2)examine historically the role of social work in influencing government intervention in social welfare problems prior to the Great Depression, (3)examine the changes in attitudes towards poverty and government participation in social welfare problems during the Great Depression, (4)study the nature of the relationship that emerged between social work and the Federal government as they worked together in addressing the social welfare problems of the Great Depression, and (5)identify issues implied in this relationship as they influenced the profession subsequent to that period.;The Social Security Act of 1935 has been selected for study because it was a pivotal piece of legislation, signifying a first step towards a welfare state in the U.S., and because it was particularly important to the history of social work. Involvement of the social work profession, both in the formulation and institutionalization of the Social Security Act, required that the relationship between the profession and the government be clarified.;The methodology used is qualitative content analysis. Data concerning the profession is based on histories and documents, including the "Proceedings" of the American Association of Social Workers Delegate Conference from 1934 to 1938, which are located in the Library of the National Association of Social Workers national office in Washington, D.C., and articles from Social Work Today and the Compass, journals representing the radical and establishment social work points of view in the 1930s. Data concerning political history is from histories, and correspondence and papers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, located in the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York.;Study findings suggest that the nature of the relationship that developed between the social work profession and the Federal government was a reciprocal one, in which each accommodated to and was influenced by the other. Despite intense conflicts within the profession, the official social work organization assumed a moderate ideological position in relation to the Federal government, putting the profession in a position to utilize opportunities for expansion of professional activity and jurisdiction that were made available by the new federal programs.;It was at this juncture that a price had to be paid by the profession, either in ideology or in opportunity. Distinctions are drawn between functions of a profession and an occupation, and the dilemma for social work is identified in terms of a conflict of interests insofar as it is simultaneously a profession and an occupation.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 42-04, Section: A, page: 1797.