Cinta de Moebio: Revista de Epistemología de Ciencias Sociales

Lorente, B; Luxardo, N. (2018) Hacia una ciencia del trabajo social. Epistemologías, subalternidad y feminización. Cinta moebio 61: 95-109. doi: 10.4067/S0717-554X2018000100095


Towards a science of social work. Epistemologies, subalternity and feminization

Belén Lorente-Molina ( Carrera de Trabajo Social, Universidad de Málaga (Malaga, España) ORCID: 0000-0002-4126-4091

Natalia Luxardo ( Carrera de Trabajo Social, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Argentina) ORCID: 0000-0002-9304-0110


The aim of the article is to analyse a long-standing challenge in the field of social work related to its historical struggle to be taken seriously as a scientific discipline. The paper identifies a tripartite conceptual framework to guide the discussion of the science of social work. The first part describes debates in contemporary social work about the nature of knowledge, considering that social work has experienced researchers who bring critically important perspectives to bear in national and international venues. The second part focuses on the social work’s subordinate academic status within the social sciences and its historical positioning as an applied rather than research-oriented discipline and the impacts relating its power and interdisciplinary asymmetric relations experienced in social work. Finally, the article raises questions about the anonymity of women in the profession’s history. In that sense, expertise in care, social help and service to the other, are feminized components of the socio-professional identity of social work and a crucial issue to consider in understanding the discipline’s standing among other social sciences. The article argues there is evidence of a large variety of positions within the history of social work concerning issues of scientific production within the field.

Key words: social work, science, epistemology, feminization, subalternity.

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Cinta de Moebio
Revista de Epistemología de Ciencias Sociales
ISSN 0717-554X