What is it about?

Care is a familiar concept, and is a core consideration in health, education, and community sectors, as well as in wider social spheres. This article offers an overview of diverse meanings of care, and the often unacknowledged assumptions that underpin these. It introduces a special edition of Australian Social Work featuring a range of contributions that demonstrate this diversity of care as it is encountered by social workers and the people with whom they work.

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Why is it important?

Drawing on my recent research with parents of children who have ongoing high-level support needs, this article highlights the importance of acknowledging the complex, but potentially limited, ways that care is understood and enacted in different sectors. The article argues that social workers are uniquely positioned to work alongside service users who experience "care" in diverse settings, and points to the need for further research to broaden or challenge existing dominant understandings.


I was delighted to contribute to debates about care and caring through this article. The concept of care is deceptively familiar, but a closer look reveals it to be laden with nuance and complexity. For people who access services across multiple sectors, care is not only an abstract concept - its diverse meanings inform the way services are provided (or not provided) in their everyday lives.

Dr Pam Joseph
University of Sydney

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Working Across Borders: Care and Caring in a Complex World, Australian Social Work, June 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/0312407x.2019.1601238.
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