Over the past 50 years, national organizations have sought to engage social workers in political activity. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (2015)Code of Ethics has specified social workers’ responsibility to the community and broader society since its adoption in 1960, and in 1996, strengthened its call to require all social workers to “engage in social and political action” to “expand choice and opportunity” and “equity and social justice for all people” (p. 27). To fulfill these obligations, social workers must have both the capacity and the drive to engage in the political processes that create policies. Political social work practice, focused on navigating and influencing power and political dynamics associated with social change, is therefore an essential component of our profession.

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Early social work education viewed policy as distinct from practice. However, in the mid-1990s, political social work emerged to...

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