Macro Practice in Social Work for the 21st Century

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LTG partner, Steve Burghardt has just published a textbook with Sage Publications, Macro Practice in Social Work for the 21st Century. Combining his earlier work as a community organizer and his recent years as an LTG consultant and executive coach with human service agencies, the book develops an integrated "macro meets micro" approach for social workers and community organizers. By using a story-telling approach at the start of each chapter that features two young organizers at the start of their careers and as they develop into a field director and agency executive, the work follows the life span of those who work in the field, arguing that a commitment to social justice need not end at the grass roots level.

One of the most exciting chapters was written by LTG consultant Mohan V Krishna, who explored the use of the Internet as a vital organizing tool. By focusing on the explosion of "virtual organizing" after the defeat of Proposition 8 in California, Krishna goes on to analyze both the power to mobilize nation-wide actions that the internet provides as well as the possible limits in the creation of "virtual trust" and the implications for long-term organizing efforts.

One of the most exciting chapters was written by LTG consultant Mohan V Krishna, who explored the use of the Internet as a vital organizing tool. By focusing on the explosion of "virtual organizing" after the defeat of Proposition 8 in California, Krishna goes on to analyze both the power to mobilize nation-wide actions that the internet provides as well as the possible limits in the creation of "virtual trust" and the implications for long-term organizing efforts.

Many of the actual leaders and organizers featured in the book have worked with LTG in the past, including Administration for Children's Services Liz Roberts, Casey Family Programs' Dr. William Bell, Harlem Children's Zone's Anne Williams-Isom, Harlem Streetwork's Caroline Strudwyck, and NY State Office of Family and Children's Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion. All of them are linked by their commitment to social justice regardless of the title or agency position that they hold.

The response to the book has been exiting as well. The following review by noted community organization scholar Robert Fisher is an example of the positive reaction:

A truly amazing book. It manages, as few have before, to cross over as both a textbook and a brilliant contribution to contemporary social work practice. As a textbook it's perfect for macro methods and community organizing courses. Burghardt's accessible writing style, his weaving of examples of students who become grassroots organizers and agency executives reflects his embrace of the broad range of macro social work, and his ability to explain complex macro practice issues are tops in the field.

But Steve Burghardt also brings his own special touch, based on a life's work in the field and the classroom, of emphasizing "the other side of organizing," that is, integrating micro with macro methods. Almost every macro subject, from cutting an issue to developing leaders, thinking strategically, and running a human service organization, also has its micro dimensions explored. In a profession where this dualism fragments understanding and where integrated practice books and courses usually minimize macro practice and theory, Burghardt blends the two, underscoring, for example critical issues related to self-development and self-awareness as fundamental to all macro practice.

If MSW programs with an integrated first year are seriously interested in integrating macro and micro, this text is the answer. But don't be fooled. It is even more than a paradigm challenging textbook. When I finished reading it — imagine that, actually reading a textbook, cover to cover — I was smiling ear to ear. It's packed filled with wisdom, insight, and experience, all delivered with grace, clarity, and commitment. As I said before, a truly amazing book!

— Robert Fisher, University of Connecticut. Author of Let the People Decide and co-author most recently of Contesting Community: The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing.

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This page contains a single entry by Leadership Transformation published on October 7, 2010 11:51 AM.

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