A broad overview of the professionalization of social work in the United States is presented while illustrating how developments in social work stimulated the emergence of macro social work as a field of practice. The history of macro practice’s dedication to social justice, human rights, and the eradication of poverty through macro-level strategies is reviewed. Influential forces, practice challenges, and initiatives responsible for the establishment and continued movement within the field are highlighted. How macro practice fits within the Specialized Practice Curricular Guide for Macro Social Work Practice (2018) and the Grand Challenges for Social Work (2015) is reviewed, along with future endeavors in macro social work.
Social Work Macro History
Eva M. Moya, David Stoesz, Mark Lusk, and Silvia M. Chávez-Baray
Richard Wolff and Karen Dodge
This entry discusses migrant workers in the United States and the unique circumstances and conditions they face. Included in the discussion are social problems faced by migrants with respect to health, housing, working conditions, child labor, and education. Policy issues are addressed, including relevant national, international, and corporate laws. Migrant patterns, demographics, and definitions are presented. Finally, social work programs, responses, and interventions are identified.
Human Rights and Social Work
Obie Clayton and June Gary Hopps
The National Association of Social Workers affirms a social worker’s responsibility to social change and social justice on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed peoples. Because of this directive around social justice, it is the profession’s responsibility to make connections among individual human rights issues within the broader social, economic, and cultural contexts that create conditions where injustice can take place. Social workers in the 21st century, especially those working at the policy or macro level, must be able to recognize and emphasize human rights in their practice and policy recommendations on local, national, and international levels. Social workers can bring attention to the need to craft solutions to human rights violations that take into account global human rights standards.
Urban Planning and Social Work
Laurie A. Walker
Urban neighborhood disinvestment in the United States resulted in deferred maintenance of buildings and common social problems experienced by residents. Strategies to redevelop neighborhoods include collaboration among many subsystems seeking to collectively invest in places and people. Contemporary federal initiatives focus on incentivizing coordinated investments between existing local community-based organizations, local and federal government, and private investors. Public–private partnerships include anchor institutions with commitments to the long-term success of place-based initiatives who invest their financial, intellectual, social, and political capital. Social workers are embedded in local community-based organizations and relationships with residents in neighborhoods experiencing redevelopment. Social workers can help guide top-down and bottom-up approaches to neighborhood revitalization toward more equitable and inclusive processes and outcomes. Resident engagement in redeveloping neighborhoods takes many forms and requires differing skill sets for social workers. Urban redevelopment is a global trend with common critiques regarding relying on gentrification and market-driven strategies with private investors.
Intimate Partner Violence and Reproductive Coercion
Amber Sutton, Haley Beech, and Debra Nelson-Gardell
Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects millions of individuals yearly, both domestically and globally. Direct linkages exist between experiencing IPV and adverse health outcomes. No matter the type of service arena, social workers encounter IPV; for that reason, all social workers need to be familiar with IPV, its consequences, and potential interventions. One form of IPV that is often undetected and underreported is reproductive coercion (RC). Reproductive coercion, a relatively new term, focuses on birth control sabotage and pregnancy coercion. Reproductive coercion is directly associated with IPV in that power and control are maintained by stripping away autonomy and decision-making ability concerning one’s reproductive and sexual health. Although many victims of IPV will experience this type of sexual abuse, RC is a less discussed form of violence and is often difficult to detect through traditional screening processes, further delaying effective intervention. Reproductive coercion affects the overall emotional, physical, and psychological health of survivors, therefore social workers need to be able to identify specific RC behaviors and know how to appropriately intervene and advocate. A thorough review of the existing literature on the link between IPV and RC has been organized into practical application methods that social workers can use to inform micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. All practice methods are designed to aid in reducing harm caused by RC and to help increase survivors’ control over their own bodies and reproductive health. Such applications will include screening for potential abuse, recognizing risk and protective factors, introducing culturally sensitive interventions, and policy implications and recommendations.
Benjamin J. Lough
Social development is a broad and somewhat elusive concept connoting the well-being of people, community, and society. The United Nations has assumed a key role of promoting social development globally, with historical efforts focused on advancing human rights, social and economic equality, and inclusion. Social development strategies are classified as enterprise, communitarian, and statist based on their ideological orientations. An institutional approach to social development offers a pragmatic synthesis of these strategies with a balanced integration of bottom-up and top-down methods. The centrality of social development for international social work practice is accentuated in the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. Current trends emphasize the complementary integration of market-oriented, community-based, and government supports to advance social development.
Global Community Practice
Manohar Pawar and Marie Weil
This article presents an integrated perspective and framework for global practice toward achieving the Global Agenda developed by international social work organizations. First, it presents “global practice” as a progressive, comprehensive, and future-oriented term that encompasses social work and social, economic, and sustainable development at multiple levels: local, national, regional, international, multinational, and global. Second, it discusses the origin and 21st-century understanding of the Global Agenda for social work. Third, it deliberates on ways of moving forward on the Global Agenda at multiple levels through an integrated perspectives framework consisting of global, ecological, human rights, and social development perspectives to guide practice. Finally, it concludes that global practice and the Global Agenda need to be translated into local-level social work and development practice and local-level agendas, making a case for social work and sustainable social development leadership and practice at grassroots and national levels.
Immigrant Communities in the United States and Macro Practice
Macro social work practice with immigrant organizations and communities in the United States requires a basic understanding of the underlying values and history of U.S. immigration laws and policy. U.S. immigration policy frequently reflects multiple and conflicting interests and values in labor needs, global politics, family unification, and national security, and policies often shift in response to political leadership, ideology, and public opinion. Some areas of the history of U.S. immigration laws and various macro social work approaches to U.S. immigration policy include (a) advocacy at local, state, and federal levels; (b) anti-immigrant legislation proposed at the state level; and (c) collaboration between grassroots organizations and local leaders to build policies and practices that support immigrants.
Reproductive Health Justice
Silvia M. Chávez-Baray, Eva M. Moya, and Omar Martinez
Reproductive health endeavors in regard to prevention, treatment, and emerging disparities and inequities like lack of access to comprehensive and equitable reproductive health for immigrants and LGBTQ+ populations are discussed. Practice-based approaches for reproductive health justice and access care models, to advance reproductive justice, are included. Implications for macro social work practice and historical perspectives, practices, and social movements of reproductive health justice in the United States to promote reproductive health justice in the context of political, legal, health, and social justice efforts are salient to advance social justice.
Community: Practice Interventions
Anne Williford and Marie Villescas Zamzow
This article offers an introduction to macro social work practice interventions. Specifically, it seeks to: (a) identify the difference between direct service (micro) and macro practice; (b) describe historical and contemporary foundations for macro practice; (c) establish a connection between macro practice and core social work values; (d) describe specific examples of macro social work practice using 21st-century social justice issues as exemplars; and (e) identify roles needed for macro social work practice. This article emphasizes the need for macro social work practice to create much needed change in the areas of social, environmental, and economic justice. It will examine the trend in social work that has increasingly placed emphasis and value on micro practice, which has marginalized macro-level social work as a result. Society continues to confront seemingly intractable social justice issues and is, in the early 21st century, experiencing a critical reckoning of how systems of oppression continue to exact violence against vulnerable populations. This article uses examples of social, environmental, and economic justice issues with specific recommendations on how to adopt an anti-oppressive macro practice framework.