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American Exceptionalism and Social Policy

American Exceptionalism and Social Work

The central idea of social work is that people from different communities may need support and assistance due to the plethora of internal and external factors. These aspects of people’s lives often depend on their background, culture, place of residence, and other elements that are outside of people’s choice. American exceptionalism is a belief that, in one of its interpretations, poses Americans as a nation with a mission to disseminate its values to others to achieve prosperity, while also establishing the dominance of the United States.

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This ideology seems incompatible with the foundations of social work that calls one to consider all unique aspects of peoples’ existence, using their own culture and individuality to foster meaningful relationships. Moreover, many Master’s Social Work (MSW) graduates may work in other countries in the future, and their ability to embrace local traditions will grant them new ways of connecting with vulnerable communities.

Another idea is for MSW students to pose themselves as “citizens of the world,” not tied to the specific geographic location. This approach can have both negative and positive impacts on one’s practice. On the one hand, this philosophy offers a holistic understanding of human beings that is not restricted by one’s nationality. Thus, the view of people’s global problems arises, showing that individuals, while being affected by local factors, have some similarities in the influences of the global systems of politics, economics, and traditions. Furthermore, it removes the divides between people from different parts of the world, proposing a bond between humans as one community.

On the other hand, this ideology should not undermine the unique struggles that some communities face. Social work should recognize both systemic concerns that may affect all people and national, local, or individual problems of persons that differ from one place to another.

Comparative Social Policy Study

Comparative social policy refers to the field of discipline that considers various social welfare regimes and people’s access to social programs in all spheres of life. The analysis and comparison of social systems give one an opportunity to see selected countries’ approaches to social policy as well as identify the foundational beliefs about people’s access to resources and services. For instance, the examination of various state policies focuses on the strategies that governments pursue when building a relationship with their citizens. As such, some nations show a clear presence of social institutions that provide residents with care that is stratified according to people’s needs, while serving all communities. Other countries may not have such institutions in place, offering a small amount of assistance to a limited number of vulnerable populations instead.

The comparison of the ways in which the protection or help are provided to people is another way of exploring the cultural values of nations. For example, countries that recognize official employment as the only channel for accessing social initiations emphasizes the role of work in people’s lives. These unique views on social policy may not raise questions when considered without taking other structures into account. In contrast, comparative social policy uncovers the differences between state and business systems, showing the underlying values of nations and problems that may be rooted in historical or cultural differences as well as economic and political tensions.

The ability to view one’s community from the outside perspective is one of the main advantages of this research approach. Moreover, it may provide some scholars with a solution to social policy issues that is based on adopting or reforming strategies that are applied elsewhere.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, July 23). American Exceptionalism and Social Policy.

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