Drawing on lessons from the recent history of social work to identify how and why it has lost its privilege and influence, this book challenges social work students to understand why social work has failed to maintain its position as a driver of social reform. Bamford looks forward to a new model of practice that places a commitment to put social justice back at the heart of professional practice. The book contributes to the topical debates about social work education and the identity of the profession, encouraging critical thinking about organisation models, practice content and meaning of professionalism in social work. Students are asked to consider questions such as 'why has social work found it so hard to define its role? ', 'is the neoliberal tide irreversible?', and 'do the jibes of political correctness have any substance?'. The book provides students of social work, history of social work and social policy, with a greater understanding of how social work became an unloved profession, whilst simultaneously charting a more hopeful course for the future.