Karla Drenner

Poverty: A Permanent Challenge To Social Work

The relationship of Social Work with the issue of poverty is founding and is articulated to professionals from different referents. The nexus of the profession with the subject possesses the singularity of moving from the local to the global and locally in a short-term movement, of a little type, but which can be recognized and transformed into a conscious and intentional action of a macroscopic and global in a long-term perspective. The macro junctures frame these short-term movements, in some way they generate a central – local dialectic that finds Social Workers permanently in an interface “in front” of people and “on the side” with respect to macro lines, making efforts to reinterpret them for the subjects in the new conjunctures that raise macroeconomic changes and social policies. In its second part, the article makes a tour about the central lines that have followed the strategies of overcoming poverty in USA in the last decade, commenting on the significance that for the profession they can come to possess.

Social Workers relate to the theme of poverty from diverse points of view. The link of the profession with poverty has the singularity of moving from the local to the global sphere. On the local level, its emphasis is microscopic and short term but can be recognized and transformed into a conscious and intended movement of a macroscopic, global and long-term nature. The macro contingencies frame these short-term movements, and, in a certain way, generate a global-local dialectic that find Social Workers permanently at an interface “face to face” to the people- “beside” the people, regarding the macro tendencies, in which they strive to reinterpret for the subjects the new contingencies that arise from the macroeconomic and social policy changes. The second part of the article reviews the axial directions of the strategies to overcome poverty in USA in the last decade, analyzing the implications that these might have for the profession.

It is not difficult to relate the overcoming of poverty with Social Work. Historically and constitutively it has been a space of identity with which we have been described in the daily action since the beginning of professional Social Work and before it.