Social work developed from Christian caring and a eudaimonic desire for a worthwhile life. Although ethics continue to underpin the discipline, contemporary complexities of post-modernism, globalism and managerialism are destabilising the universalist moral intentions of practice and subsequently demotivating eudaimonic drives. Cultural and context-specific relativist influences are promoting an ethics of ‘fitting in’ which, without critical analysis, betrays client best interests by favouring formulaic absolutes. Alternative, relationist theory can support a critically reflective and care-ethics-driven practice that is motivating, clearer and focused on ontological consideration of dynamic client, practitioner and environmental needs. It can thus help social workers to situate themselves and achieve personal and professional transformation.
Thompson, LJ & Wadley, DA in press, 'Countering globalisation and managerialism: relationist ethics in social work', International Social Work.