Vera Taube is a social worker and professor for methods of social work at the University ofApplied Sciences in Neubrandenburg. During her doctoral studies at the University of Eastern Finland, she investigated the practice of intensive pedagogic treatments concerning their history of ideas.
OBJECTIVES: This article presents the history of ideas as a valuable perspective for social work science to advance the connectivity of the discipline’s knowledge base and improve its use for practice. THEORETICAL BASE: Starting point are profession theoretical considerations about social work as a profession acting under uncertainty. This characteristic feature of the profession leads to particular demands on knowledge for reflective practice. METHODS: General knowledge forms such as theories, evidence, and tacit knowledge are assessed systematically for their potential to guide practice. An additional knowledge type denoted as history of ideas is introduced conceptually and discussed for its added value for social work’s knowledge base. OUTCOMES: The use of existing knowledge is limited in guiding practice under uncertainty because it lacks an independent momentum for profession-oriented decision-making. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The existing knowledge base needs a supplement. History of ideas is suggested to complement the existing knowledge forms. It relates other forms of knowledge to the professions’ traditions and identity and enriches the existing knowledge base with an independent, profession-oriented perspective. As a conclusion, history of ideas is identified as a valuable research perspective for social work research.
working amid competing interests, history of ideas, professional social work, knowledge base, social work research