Relation between Social Work and other Social Sciences/ disciplines

Relation between Social Work and other Social Sciences/ disciplines

Sociology as generally understood is the study of society. The study of society implies to the study of human beings, their interrelationship, and the relationship with the immediate social environment. To be precise and specific, the subject matter of sociology includes:

§  Social Morphology: it encompasses matters like population, its qualities, social groups, social institutions, and organization etc.

§  Social Processes: Such as cooperation, competition, conflict, accommodation, adaptation, assimilation, adjustment and socialization etc. which are important for meeting human needs.

§  Social Control: religion, tradition, folklore, morality, beliefs, laws, values, etc.

§  Social Pathology: Crime, delinquency, suicide, unemployment, corruption, family disorganization, poverty, and climate change issues etc.

Thus, it can be seen that sociology deals with human organizations, their structure, their relationship, gaps underlying the psycho-social needs, social interactions which are important for maintaining a decent standard of living in the society.

Social wok derives ample of knowledge from sociology because the psycho-social problems of individuals, groups or communities cannot be diagnosed and solved without having the knowledge about their social environment.

The knowledge base of sociology is essential for the social workers because of the following factors:

Sociology as discipline studies different patterns of interactions of individuals and
groups where as social work is responsible for the solution of the problems of these individuals and groups through group work process. Hence in order to have a better understanding and solution of individual or group problems the social worker must look at sociology.

§  Social environment plays a vital role in shaping an individual’s life by affecting his/her attitude and behaviour. Hence, without having adequate knowledge about the components of social environments in relation to the individual, change cannot be brought in man. Therefore gaining such knowledge social workers depend on sociology.  

§  Individual behaviour is mostly conditioned by culture, tradition, folk ways, values, norms, beliefs, etc. these are the constituents of the culture which is studied in sociology. It is therefore essential to study sociology so as to solve the problems borne out of cultural malfunctioning.

§   In social work, the knowledge about social roles and expectations of individuals is of great significance. When an individual fails to play his roles according his position, maladjustment is felt and it leads to many social problems. It also hampers the expectations of others and leads to social disturbance. The social worker therefore tries to understand the roles and expectations by studying sociology.

§  Social work studies life, community relations and its characteristics for social development. The function of social work is not only to solve psycho-social problems but it also enters into the field of social development. This work is possible only when the characteristics of groups and communities are studied. This knowledge is derived from the study of sociology. 
§  The knowledge about social problems and their factors forms an important part of the body of knowledge of social work because as it is known that the main aim of social work is to solve psycho-social problems. This part of social work has been borrowed from sociology.

§  Sociology also deals with social process like cooperation, competition, conflict, accommodation, adaptation, assimilation, adjustment socialization etc. the knowledge about which are important for social work practice hence form the part of social work theory.

Thus, the contribution of sociology in the development of social work theories cannot be denied.

Psychology as generally understood is the study of mind. Mc Dougall has called it “the positive science of conduct and behaviour.” Murphy another thinker of psychology has defined it as “the science that studies the responses which the living individuals make to their environment. Psychology studies the general principles of human attitude and behaviour. The fundamental laws of motivation, perception, learning, memory, thinking etc are universal to all human beings, irrespective of the culture and social environment they were brought up in. As a study of mind, psychology studies an individual in abstract. It studies the mental aspects of individuals through individualistic approach with special emphasis on the internal qualities of individual and their manifestations in terms of behaviour.

The theory of social work has an intimate relationship with the theory of social work because in the task of solving individual and group problems, it attempts to study individual from his mental perspective. It studies the social psychology of individual which is concerned with the behavioral and social problems. This knowledge is essential for social work practice as it is concerned with individual needs and problems.

Social worker helps an individual after having studied his attitude, perception, learning ability, internal quotient etc which form significant parts of individual’s personality. Very often, problems of individual stem from the inadequacies of these factors and take the form of social problems. For this reason, a social worker needs the knowledge about different dimensions of these factors as he tries to affect the behavior of the individual concerned and tries to make necessary modification for inducing problem solving process. Hence, a decent part of the knowledge of psychology has been incorporated in the theory of social work.

Marshal in his definition on economics emphasized on the welfare aspect of human being. In his words, “Economics on one side is the study of wealth; and on the other hand a part of study of man”. As a branch of knowledge it deals with wealth, but it is concerned with wealth in the sense that it studies man’s action regarding how he earns wealth and how he spends it towards meeting his needs. It is a social science studying how people attempt to accommodate material scarcity to their wants.

Fulfillment of material needs of an individual is an important aspect and closely connected with social life. Hence, economic aspect of life is important factor in his growth and development. His personal and social life is affected to a great extent by economic conditions

Social work as profession primarily deals with the problems of man and the society. Problems of individuals and the society arise due to unfulfilment of their material needs. Therefore, social work has to look into the economic condition of individuals and the society before taking steps for the solution of their problems. Social and economic conditions are interconnected and interrelated. It is therefore important to study the economic condition of man while studying about his social condition for his growth and development. For this reason while formulating the theories of social work adequate care has been taken to include some relevant parts of economics in the knowledge of social work.

In a general sense Political Science is the science of the state. It deals with association of human beings in the form of political units and the government. Political Science explains about the nature and function of the state, its importance, organization, administration, principles, policies and its laws and legislations for the wellbeing of the society. It also explains the suitability of policies, plans, welfare schemes and their implementation under the public domain. The state has the power to control all types of economic, moral, cultural and religious relations and mutual interaction between individuals, groups and communities. There are number of problems which can effectively be solved through enactment of legislations.

Social work takes the responsibility to deal with the problems of individuals groups and community. In this task, social work tries to study the nature of association and interactions of such individuals, groups and communities for inclusive growth and development. Moreover, in the welfare state like India where the government takes the responsibility of ensuring welfare of all the sections of the population, social work has to seriously look into the policies, schemes and programmes link them up to the needs of the communities for the betterment of the people. In this sense, a social worker needs to have the knowledge about all these for the better performance of his duties. Thus, looking into such requirement of the knowledge of Political science in social work practice, some political science like other science has been incorporated to the body of knowledge of social work.

 As generally understood, statistics is the science that deals with the numerical representation of data for analysis of various facts. According to Saligman “Statistics is the science which deals with the methods of collecting classifying, presenting, comparing and interpreting numerical data to throw some light on any sphere of enquiry”. According to King, “the science of statistics is the method of judging collective, natural or social phenomenon from the result obtained from the analysis or enumeration or collection of estimates.” Lovits defines statistics “As the science which deals with the collection, classification and tabulation of numerical facts as the basis for explanation, description and comparison of phenomena.”

Statistics attempts to simplify complexities in studies. It describes a phenomenon in very simple manner for easy understanding. Statistical methods are the best ways to measure the results of cause and effect relationship between two phenomena. Statistics enlarges human experience and knowledge by making it easier for men to understand, describe and measure the effects of his own actions or the actions of others.

As it is known to us that, social work deals with different types of problems. For this purpose, the information regarding the nature, severity, and factors is collected, organized and analyzed. On the basis of this analysis planning for the solution of the given problem is done. Thus, statistics helps the social workers to effectively solve the problems of individuals, groups and communities by providing accurate measurement of various facts associated to those problems. Statistics therefore finds an important place in the knowledge base of social work.

Social anthropology is that branch of sociological studies which mainly devotes itself to the primitive human being and the primitive society. It studies the activities of human beings that bring satisfaction to psycho-physical needs. It basically studies the culture of society which is less changeable. The folkways, mores, traditions and values of the primitive men are different than that of modern people. Their nature and factors of problems also are different from that of modern societies.

There are number of schools of social work in India where subjects of primitive societies and tribal welfare are taught as fulltime and specialized course. Social work students receive information regarding tribal organizations, their values, beliefs, and customs and on the basis of this information they try to understand the needs and problems of the tribal people. Then an appropriate action plan is prepared for the solution of their problems. This part of social work knowledge has been borrowed from the study of social anthropology.

Ethics is the science that deals with good conduct. It helps one to understand as to what is right or wrong, good or bad and necessary or unnecessary. It studies the righteousness or correctness of behaviour. In order to find out whether particular behaviour is justified or not, the social background has to be kept in mind. The behaviour that is considered to be correct in one society may not be taken to be correct in another. It is on the basis of social behaviour that the norms of morality developed. Therefore, ethics studies the social behaviour from the point of view of the standard of morality.

Social work helps individuals in solving their psycho-social and adjustmental problems. Most of the adjustmental problems are due to individual’s value conflict. These problems can only be solved by changing or modifying the behaviour of individual. Modification or change of behaviour is possible by resolving value conflict. Hence, to enhance understanding and skills in solving value conflict in the client, social work has incorporated some knowledge from ethics for training social workers.

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