A Community Social Work Paradigm: Thoughts and Reflections

Shlomit Weiss-Dagan, Inbal Aviv, Ayala Eliyahou, Drorit Levy, Ayelet Makaros, Smadar Freiberg, Amit Zriker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Community social work (CSW) is often regarded as a practice with a variety of intervention models. The objectives of the present article are to examine CSW’s philosophical and theoretical roots and to bridge the gap in the literature regarding the theoretical and philosophical origins of CSW and to conceptualize these theoretical bases as a paradigm with ontological, epistemological, axiological, and methodological aspects. The ontology of the proposed CSW paradigm relies on ecological theory, critical theory, and community psychology. The paradigm’s epistemology relies on the basic assumption that community members are autonomous subjective human beings with important and valid knowledge who make decisions concerning their lives. Axiologically, the most prominent value of the paradigm is participation, from which other central values derive. The paradigm’s methodology derives from its three abovementioned components. The conceptualization of a CSW paradigm provides a theoretical foundation for community interventions and refining the goals of these interventions. The paradigm can be used as a pedagogical and identity-building tool with students and social workers who focus on CSW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 National Association of Social Workers.


  • community practice
  • community social work
  • paradigm
  • participation


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