Reeve, D. (2012) ‘Preparation for practice: Can philosophy have a place in helping students incorporate the social model of disability within their praxis?’, Social Work Education 31(2): 226-233.
This short paper emerges from an engagement with the paper by Morgan in this special edition which argues that the social model of disability can be viewed as a threshold concept which students struggle to ‘get’. I suggest that introducing social work students to philosophical concepts such as recognition at an early stage of their learning about skills, values and anti-oppressive practice, could facilitate the transition over this disability studies threshold, reducing the potential for ritualised performance instead of true understanding. It will be argued that Honneth’s account of recognition in particular can be helpful in reducing the risk of psycho-emotional disablism within professional relationships between social work students and disabled service users. However I also suggest that encouraging students to engage with philosophical questions about personhood and humanity are crucial to maintaining true anti-oppressive practice at a time of financial cutbacks in social work services.