The utility and application of the concept of empowerment in social work journals
Kraus, Mary Joanne
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There is some concern in the social work literature about the use of the concept of empowerment, and there is a long-standing debate about ecosystems theory. Both have meaning for social work research, practice, and education. Empowerment is codified into the profession’s ethics and linked to our guiding perspective. Using content analysis, this exploratory study examined utility, meaning and application of the concept of empowerment in relation to ecosystems theory, in Social Work Abstracts between 1977 and 2004. A uniform and comprehensive utilization of the concept of empowerment was found in the social work literature. Yet, only 2 percent of the literature utilized the concept of empowerment as a keyword. The implications of these findings for social work practice and policy are discussed, along with recommendations for future research.