Applying Theory to Policy and Practice

Issues for Critical Reflection

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  • Edited by Steven R. Smith, University of Wales, Newport, UK
  • The analysis of social and public policy and professional practice has become increasingly theoretical in recent years. This volume draws together experienced practitioners and academics in social work, probation and counselling, as well as from other forms of legal and social practice, to better understand the relationship between theory, policy and practice. The contributors argue that the use of theory in studying policy and practice is overall a positive and necessary development. However, they also highlight and explore a number of methodological problems and philosophical issues for critical reflection:

    • The often inaccessible nature of abstract theoretical argument

    • Perceived problems of relevance and applicability to practice given the structure and purpose of theoretical modelling;

    • Philosophical difficulties and questions when applying theoretical generalization to policy and practice.

    The authors address these problems in a style fully accessible to non-theorists, offering a unique multi-disciplinary resource for students, academics, policy analysts and practitioners.
  • Contents: Applying theory to policy and practice: methodological problems and issues, Steven R. Smith; The lure of 'facts' in asylum appeals: critiquing the practice of judges, James A. Sweeney; From eclecticism to orthodoxy in practice: can theory and practice merge in probation?, Francis Cowe, John Deering and Maurice Vanstone; Scepticism and belief: unravelling the relationship between theory and practice in counselling and psychotherapy, Sheila Spong; Applying theories in care management to practice, Lana Morris; Theory, practice and 'teaching' professional ethics, Gideon Calder; Bradford's programme for a peaceful city: an experiment in social theory and political practice, Alan Carling; Eurocentricism, the philosophy of liberation and the social model of disability: the practice of a social movement within a Latin American context, Nadia Heredia; Beyond practice and beyond theory?, David Morgans; Index.
  • About the Editor: Steven Smith is Reader in Social Policy and Political Philosophy at the University of Wales, Newport, UK.
  • Reviews: ‘We all employ value judgements and theories in our work and everyday lives, often without realizing it. This masterful and original book seizes this point and runs with it, offering an accessible, thought-provoking and highly informative discussion of the connections between theory and practice. It is a must for academics and practitioners concerned about today's leading social and ethical issues.’
    Ken Blakemore, Swansea University, UK