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Soc Work. 2010 Oct;55(4):317-25.

Political activities of social workers: addressing perceived barriers to political participation.

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  • 1College of Social Work, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996-3333, USA.


This article reviews the literature on political participation of social workers and the variables that promote or impede political advocacy. Early research in the 1980s and 1990s most often reported education, feelings of efficacy, having a macro-type job, and being a member of a national association as factors that determine greater political participation. Since the late 1990s, organizational and legal issues have surfaced more prominently as barriers to political participation by social workers. This article addresses barriers to participation, such as not feeling competent to perform policy-related tasks and perceived legal barriers.It then analyzes the actual restrictions that nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and publicly employed social workers face in lobbying and partisan politics. The article summarizes the activities that are legally allowed in these areas and concludes that social workers can be more politically active than they often realize.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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