Researching the history of social work: exposition of a history of the present approach
This paper provides an exposition of Michel Foucault's ‘history of the present’ in order to make the case for its relevance to the study of social work history. It sets out the general principles underpinning this practice and considers its application to a particular research question relating to history of child welfare and protection social work in the Republic of Ireland. The paper seeks to highlight the challenges involved in its use and illuminate its potential value as an approach for researching the history of social work. It is concluded that this exposition offers one appropriate approach that could be employed within the growing field of social work history research across Europe.