Personal Philosophies of Social Welfare & Social Justice

Whatis social welfare?  Social welfare can be described in amultitude of ways, but, at its core refers to the well-being of people livingin collective societies.  This concept ideally should apply to everyoneliving in a community.  Peoples levels or amounts of social welfareoften relate to systems of stratification and access to adequate shelter andfood, health care, employment, sanitation, and guarantees of clean air, water,and safe food.  Many would also include in their description services suchas education and transportation, and social conditions such as public safety,freedom from discrimination, freedom of expression, and freedom to practice anyreligious belief (or no religion).  This expanded definition incorporatessome of the fundamental concepts of (universal) human rights.  While allsocieties provide for varying degrees of social welfare, some often promote thesocial welfare of different social groups to the detriment and social exclusionof other groups. 

Whatis social justice?  Social justice is a powerful ideal, butits meaning is many-sided and highly contested.  As a moral ideal, ones beliefs about socialjustice and ones definition of it are rooted in ones ideological stance.  Yet our personal conceptions of a justsociety and the ways we believe it can best be achieved make no senseunless they are connected to the larger social and political ideologies thatinform them: ideas about the economic structure of society; the nature of thestates responsibility to its citizens; the extent of citizens obligations toone another and to the state; and citizenship itself. 

Allof us have been raised in different community contexts that shaped ourunderstanding of and beliefs about the role of government in ensuring thesocial welfare of its people and promoting a just society.  Family,education, mass media, religious institutions, and peer groups are primaryinfluences on our beliefs about social problems and the proper function ofgovernment (especially its role in promoting social welfare).  

Thisassignment asks you to reflect on your own values and beliefs about the role ofeconomics, government, and the relationship between social problems and socialwelfare (policy) in the United States.  In a short essay address thefollowing three items:

1.   Describe your own economic and political philosophy, especially in relationto social welfare policy and key social problems like poverty andinequality.  Explain how your own values and beliefs resemble and/ordiffer from the viewpoints described in the readings for sessions 2, 3, and4.  Your paper must refer to and incorporate insights from aminimum of three of these readings, but potentially more.

2.   Explain the ecological factors and your individual experiences that haveinfluenced the development of your own economic and politicalphilosophy.  Incorporate those sensitizing events in your life that haveeither changed your views or reinforced them on the topic of social welfare,poverty, the role of government, etc.

3.What stance has social work historically taken on social welfare issues? Basedon the SW Code of Ethics, what political philosophies seem most consistent withour professional values. What area of contradictions do you see between thevalues our professions espouses and the translation of those values into practice?Include a brief description of the direction our field should ideally be movingin, based on our core values.

Yourability to identify and discuss your own personal values andbeliefsyour own philosophy of social welfarein this paper iscritical.  Evaluation of your paper will not be based onyour specific (political) beliefs, but rather on how clearly you respond to theabove, in particular:

a.   The clarity with which you describe your own economic and politicalphilosophy about poverty and social welfare, using examples where relevant,and the similarities and differences between your own views and specificreadings;

b.   A discussion of identifiable environmental and social influences on your ownbeliefs and values about social welfare and social justice, etc.;

c.   Your conclusion, including a discussion of the implications of your beliefs foryour own social work practice and its relation to the course readings. 

Paper Format:  Present a graduate-level paper that has an introduction, thesissentence, analysis (i.e., main body) and a conclusion. The point of the paperis not to summarize articles but to use material from the readings to clarifyyour own stances and then present this understanding in your own words. All claimsmust be substantiated with evidence from peer-reviewed journals or coursereadings. Failure to properly cite your claims is a form of plagiarism.
Length:  4-5, double spaced (excluding the referencepage), typed, using a 12-point font size and one-inch margins. 
Referencing Style: Follow the formattingstyle as described in the Publication Manual of the AmericanPsychological Association 6th edition

***The attached files are the reading materials the directions refer to***
Also for the NASW Code of Ethics for social work you can just google it and it will take you to the website where it will have the standards and principles.