Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/35729
- The comfort of strangers: social work, modernity and late Victorian England: part II
Webb, Stephen A.
- This is the second of two related articles on the history of social work in late Victorian England. In the previous article I showed that the emergence of social work was best understood by aligning it with the complex cultural system of modernity. In this paper the influence of modernity on the formation of social work is taken further by focusing on the way that regimes of practice were shaped by material, physical and visual elements. A distinctive set of spatio-temporal elements are identified that have hitherto been overlooked in 'histories of social work'. The paper shows how the power of place, and the power over place in early social work, relates directly to the modern experience of Victorian England while shaping the remit of contemporary social work. Home visits, for example, meant that social workers could for the first time attempt to 'regulate at a distance', and involved what is referred to as the 'domestication of stranger relations'. The paper further explores the way in which the history of social work can benefit from exploring the experience-content of early social workers and how organizational imperatives for charity relief were often formed from the bottom-up during this period. At the end of the paper there are some considerations about the way in which a European approach to the history of social work can be instructive and beneficial.
- European Journal of Social Work Vol. 10, Issue 2, p. 193-207
- Publisher Link
social work and spatio-temporal relations;
Late Victorian philanthropy;
domestication of stranger relations;
regulation at a distance
- Resource Type
- journal article