July 30, 2008
Anyways, a week or so ago, I picked up Counterculture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House. This book is basically a history of counterculture across time, from myth to reality. I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far and as I'm reading it, I'm coming to realize that, in many ways, social work is a counterculture activity.
Counterculture is loosely defined as a culture, or subculture that runs counter to the prevailing attitudes of the mainstream culture. Much of the work we do is on the fringes of society, where people do not want to look or have to deal with. There is not much more countercultural than that. While mainstream society wants the homeless out of their way, we jump right in and advocate for them. While mainstream society wants addiction out of view, we look at ways to have the people with a problem looked at as people again. They want cuts to social programs, we want increases. They want the status quo, we want change. And on and on and on.
I'm working my way through the book, so along the way, I will try to write about some parallels that I observe between what I read and the profession. I've always been fascinated with the fringe, so maybe this is my way of trying to be a part of it. This is also probably my way of trying to make social work look cool. Someone's gotta try, don't they?
Oh yeah, this is my first image in post, so I should give credit. This picture is one of my favorites from Banksy. The contradiction of it really appeals to me.