Now, in reading some of the comments that were generated, as well as thinking about it more, I have to refine it down a little bit. I think that the ideal of what social work aspires to is definitely countercultural. On the other hand, our actual practice often differs. While we come out of school idealistic and approach our practice in this way, it is a difficult road and we are not always able to hold on.
In the book, there are three characteristics of counterculture listed:
Countercultures embraces individual and social change
Does this apply to social work? Well, yeah! It's pretty much what we're all about! We're committed to improving the social situations of individuals, groups, societies, whoever! We're all about the social justice. Yay, one point for social work!Countercultures challenge authoritarianism in both obvious and subtle forms
This one is a little tougher. While I don't think we're all big fans of authoritarianism, social work promotes some pretty socialistic ideals that could be seen in the same vein as authoritarianism by some groups. However, that's countered by the TYPE of freedoms that we are pursuing. By aiming for these socialist ideals, we are looking at things such as "freedom from want". Then again, as an instructor once told me, social workers can become, as she said "thinly veiled agents of social control". I'm gonna go with a half point on this one.Countercultures assign primacy to individuality at the expense of social conventions and governmental constraints
I'm stuck on this one. Either I don't fully understand it, or I just don't know what to do with it. My first thoughts is that we're all about the social conventions and governmental constraints. Do we not help people fit within the bounds of society better? Yes, we try to change the system, but do we really ever see that happen enough to actually see it? Our problem is that we're fundamentally against this system that we're bound by. Do we even get a point here?What it comes down to is that gap between our ideals and what we actually do. I believe that our roots are definitely countercultural, and we have to find a way to bring our roots into our work, even if it's a little bit at a time. As to whether we're "counter" or "cool", I'm gonna go with who the hell cares? We're gonna do what we do anyways, and really, when you have to ask if you're cool, that pretty much means you're not.
So, like, honestly, do you think I'm cool? ;)