What is it to care for another human being? How do we show compassion for each other? Is ‘social care’ an activity only for paid professionals? This book sets out on a radical re-examination of the nature of social care, the way it is practised, and its purpose. Rather than being confined to a qualified cohort of designated carers, social care is an activity for all. It is the gateway to the humanization of both care-giver and care-receiver. Yet the process of humanization, in order to be effective, needs to encompass both the personal and political worlds. The resultant integral social care can be re-imagined as compassionate activism.
The scope of the book ranges from the practical to the theoretical. It assesses the specific skills needed in providing social care; it examines social care theory and practice; and it extends its investigation as far as the dysfunctions in the current political and economic system. The book proposes a ‘dialogic practice’ as an effective method of achieving personal and social transformation, one which is available to professional practitioners and others alike. The value and process of dialogue affirms that our humanity is primarily characterized by care and compassion rather than individual self-interest.