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Modern Social Work Theory

Fifth Edition

Malcolm Payne

Publication Date - 11 January 2021

ISBN: 9780197568088

600 pages

In Stock

The internationally best-selling classic written by one of the leading names in social work


Modern Social Work Theory, Fifth Edition provides a comprehensive and critical overview of the main practice theories that will act as a companion for students throughout their course and their career as a practitioner. In this substantially reworked and updated edition of his best-selling text, Malcolm Payne presents clear and concise evaluations of the pros and cons of major theories that inform social work practice and comparisons between them.

New to this Edition

  • A fuller treatment of Psychodynamic Theory in Chapter 4: "Psychodynamic Relational Practice" and Chapter 5: "Psychodynamic Attachment Practice"
  • An emphasis on green social work and environmental approaches to practice in new Chapter 16: "Eco Practice"
  • New material on motivational interviewing, strengths, solutions, and narrative practice in a new Chapter 8, "Motivational Interviewing"
  • New content on post-colonial approaches and critiques of multicultural and anti-racist theories in Chapter 18, " Anti-oppressive, Indigenous, and Multicultural Sensitivity Practice"


  • Complete coverage of social work theory, from classic perspectives to the very latest ideas
  • Clear and concise evaluations and comparisons of the major theories that inform social work practice
  • Case Examples and "Pause and Reflect" questions to encourage students to draw on their own experience and develop critical thinking skills

About the Author(s)

Malcolm Payne holds honorary professorial posts with Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was for many years professor and head of Applied Community Studies, and Kingston University London, UK. He worked as a social worker and manager in probation, child and adult social care, and in community mental health and residential care development work in local and national voluntary organizations. Most recently he was director of psychosocial and spiritual care and policy and development advisor for St Christopher's Hospice, London. He has also worked in social work education in the UK, Finland, Poland, and Slovakia. His publications include articles and papers on practice and theory in social work, on teamwork in interprofessional practice, and on practice and research in end-of-life care. Among his other books are Humanistic Social Work, What is Professional Social Work?, Citizenship Social Work with Older People, and (edited with Emma Reith-Hall) The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Theory (2019).

Table of Contents

    PART 1: Thinking about social work theory
    1. The social construction of social work theory
    2. Evaluating social work theory
    3. Connecting theory and practice

    PART 2: Reviewing social cohesion theories
    4. Psychodynamic relational practice
    5. Psychodynamic attachment practice
    6. Crisis and task-centred practice
    7. Cognitive-behavioural practice
    8. Motivational interviewing
    9. Systems, complexity and chaos

    PART 3: Reviewing empowerment theories
    10. Macro practice, social development and social pedagogy
    11. Social construction practice: strengths and solutions
    12. Social construction practice: narrative practice
    13. Humanistic practice, existentialism and spirituality
    14. Social justice, advocacy and empowerment

    PART 4: Reviewing social change theories
    15. Critical practice
    16. Eco practice
    17. Feminist practice
    18. Anti-oppressive, Indigenous and multicultural sensitivity practice

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