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Critical commentary: social work ethics

Banks, S.

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This short article explores the expanding and contested terrain of social work ethics, considering the form and content of future areas for development. It charts the broadening of the field beyond a focus on professional codes of ethics, principle-based theories, difficult cases and decision-making models towards more embedded and situated approaches to ethics in professional life. The potential for further empirical research into ethical issues in social work, including how practitioners conceptualize and handle ethical difficulties, is noted, alongside the scope for focused studies and monographs drawing on moral, political and religious philosophy to examine particular theoretical approaches (such as virtue ethics or the ethics of care) or to develop new ways of approaching ethics in social work, drawing on its radical, critical and transformatory traditions.


Banks, S. (2008). Critical commentary: social work ethics. The British Journal of Social Work, 38(6), 1238-1249.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2008
Deposit Date Jun 24, 2009
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2010
Journal British Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 0045-3102
Electronic ISSN 1468-263X
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 6
Pages 1238-1249
Keywords Social work ethics, Professional ethics, Moral philosophy.
Publisher URL


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