Knowing Nothing: Understanding New Critical Social Work Practice


  • Cynthia Justine Gallop Mount Royal University



hermeneutics, research, critical social work, practice


Individuals embarking on their journey to become professional social workers often state they feel as if they know nothing upon entering their practice. Regardless of the number of years critical social workers have practiced, they are also thought to know “nothing.†By utilizing a philosophical hermeneutic approach I chose to recognize that new critical social work ideas, theories and practices come from something and somewhere (Moules, 2002). This hermeneutic study involved interviewing six newly graduated social workers from with a declared critical orientation. I asked these budding new professionals to describe what happens when they begin working in organizations that may or may not support a critical ideology and how this influences their practice. Hermeneutic interpretations of the participant experiences suggest that this “nothing†is not devoid of meaning or method, but instead involves insinuating themselves and their ideas into their agencies in a delicate curvilinear manner.

Author Biography

Cynthia Justine Gallop, Mount Royal University

Cynthia J. Gallop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and Disability Studies at Mount Royal University


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