Gestures of mutuality: bridging social work values and skills through Erasmian humanism

Whiting, Russell (2015) Gestures of mutuality: bridging social work values and skills through Erasmian humanism. Ethics and Social Welfare. ISSN 1749-6535

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Abstract

This article presents one expression of humanism, that of renaissance scholar Desiderius Erasmus, and demonstrates its relevance and utility to contemporary discussions of social work values and skills. It supplements recent riting on humanism in social work by focusing on one particular interpretation of the philosophy. Several of Erasmus’ own works are drawn upon to illustrate the key term that underpins his humanist values—mutuality. Mutuality is defined in theological terms and Erasmus’ optimistic interpretation of the Christian tradition is emphasised. Expressions of mutuality are highlighted in turn in Erasmus’
writing on non-violence, generosity of spirit and through the humour in his work. The importance of the corporeal in Erasmus is noted and also how this chimes with contemporary writing in social work on embodiment. How Erasmian values can be embodied in social work skills is discussed in the second half of the article which brings together writers on social work skills with Erasmus’ guidance on conduct. The synergies between Erasmus’ ideas and contemporary writers are uncovered and the article also points to the added value that Erasmus offers contemporary social work practitioners with a practically worked through humanist position.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice Including social case work, private and public relief, institutional care, rural social work, work relief
Depositing User: Russell Whiting
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2012 10:42
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2015 09:07
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24633
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