From Object to Subject: Paradigm shifts towards user participation in social work research
The development of social work as a profession and as an academic discipline is intricately bound up with the project of modernity and therefore with the ambiguity of furtherig personal liberty on the one hand and increasing the technical means of controlling and oppressing people on the other. The natural science paradigm in knowledge production bears the hallmark of this ambiguity and social work as an academic discipline needs to be safeguarded against uncritical knowledge production geared solely at increasing the efficiency of interventions. Contemporary epistemological discourses, critical of reductionist positivism and advocating instead reflexive and inter-subjective forms of knowedge production, give social work the opportunity to contribute towards socially accountable modes of knowledge production from the rich experience of its history in which both sides of modernity were featured. It can thereby gain recognition in the wider academic community and amongs professors for its leaning towards participative forms of knowledge and community building.