Books for changing the world
Abolition and Social Work
Possibilities, Paradoxes, and the Practice of Community Care

A critical anthology exploring the debates, conundrums, and promising practices around abolition and social work in academia and within impacted communities.

Within social work—a profession that has been intimately tied to and often complicit in the building and sustaining of the carceral state—abolitionist thinking, movement-building, and radical praxis are shifting the field. Critical scholarship and organizing have helped to name and examine the realities of carceral social work, as well as the many ways in which social work has perpetrated criminalization and punishment through family regulation, juvenile justice, anti-violence efforts, immigration control, and more. In this new context, the editors and contributors to Abolition and Social Work ask: Is abolitionist social work possible, or even the goal?

While there is a long history of liberatory social work, the emerging nexus of abolition and social work compels new inquiry, reflection, and shared practice. Featuring a foreword by Mariame Kaba, Abolition and Social Work offers an orientation to abolitionist theory for social workers and explores the tensions and paradoxes in realizing abolitionist practice in social work—a necessary intervention in contemporary discourse regarding carceral social work, and a compass for recentering this work through the lens of abolition, transformative justice, and collective care.