A Case for Critical Social Work Action

Lia Levin*, Adaya Liberman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Despite critical social work’s (CSW) growing popularity, its praxes and associated policies have thus far remained largely discursive. This situation can be attributed to several factors, including social workers’ attitudes, training, and education and the nature of the systems and organizations employing them. In this article, we contend that besides these viable inhibiting factors, CSW has yet to become a widely used praxis as a result of some of its intrinsic characteristics and the encounter between them and the social work profession. The main part of this article offers guiding principles for promoting critical social work action (CSWA). These principles, which are largely based upon and inspired by fundamentals of Paulo Freire’s genuine pedagogical action, include dialectic practice and policy-making; impatient patience; exemption from neutrality; redefining rationality; humanization, liberation, and transformation; and the formulation of alternatives to silence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-259
Number of pages12
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Paulo Freire
  • critical social action
  • critical social work
  • social change
  • social policy
  • social work


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