Book Review: Rank, M. R. (Ed.). (2020). Toward a livable life: A 21st century agenda for social work

Archives > Volume 18 (2021) > Issue 2 > Item 12

DOI: 10.55521/10-018-212

Rank, M. R. (Ed.). (2020). Toward a livable life: A 21st century agenda for social work. Oxford University Press.

Reviewed by Bishnu Mohan Dash, MSW, MPhil, PhD, ICSSR PDF, Associate Professor, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, (University of Delhi), Delhi

Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics • Volume 18(2), Copyright 2021 by IFSW

This text may be freely shared among individuals, but it may not be republished in any medium without express written consent from the authors and advance notification of IFSW.

The book, Toward a Livable Life: A 21st Century for Social Work, presents a comprehensive review of various socioeconomic and environmental issues that have a detrimental effect on the well-being of children, families, and communities. The book has been organized into fourteen chapters, along with an introduction by the editor. All the authors and editors are associated with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. This book highlights a wide range of critical issues of the social work profession and proposes various policy measures and practice frameworks for the pursuit of a livable life for all as the most important goal of social work.

The book highlights ten key areas that social work profession must focus on to ensure that individuals and families maintain livable lives. These ten key areas are tackling the root socioeconomic determinants of ill health; alleviating poverty; confronting stigma/ discrimination/exclusion; reducing cumulative inequality; developing financial and tangible assets for lower and moderate income populations; preventing child maltreatment; fostering civic engagement across the life course; building healthy, diverse, and thriving communities; achieving environmental justice; and engaging older adults. The book also emphasized generating effective demand and use of social services, designing and implementing policy and programme innovations, and leveraging big data analytics and informatics, which are essential for the social work profession to achieve a livable life for all. The book posits that the agenda of the social work profession in the 21st century is to enable every individual to lead a “livable life.

The book provides an in-depth discussion on various challenges and on the most pressing issues of the social work profession in the USA, as well as at the global level. One of the unique aspects of the book is that most of the chapters provide perspectives on the USA, as well as international perspectives, with an aim to provide the comparative picture of the nature, extent, and depth of the problem and to highlight disparities in wealth, health, and other areas that affect marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the population.

This book illuminates the various challenges faced by Americans and other people around the globe and has identified and presented various strategies through which individuals are able to thrive and develop in order to reach their full potential and capacity for a livable life. The ultimate goal of the various chapters is to facilitate more livable lives for the children, families, older populations and marginalized sections by ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to have a livable life. The book has made an attempt in presenting emerging global social work challenges and contributed in the creation of new knowledge, practices, and policies essential for social workers. The book will definitely create a dialogue between social work educators and practitioners, as well as researchers, to look for interventions towards the various emerging social concerns. This book should be essential reading for not only social workers, but also for policy makers, politicians, and others engaged in social work and developmental activities.

If you would like to submit a book for review, please contact Laura Gibson, book review editor.