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Reinterpreting Abraham Flexner's speech, "Is social work a profession?": Its meaning and influence on the field's early professional development.

by P M Morris
Social Service Review ()


In 1915, Abraham Flexner proclaimed to a national conference of social workers that the field was not yet a profession. Ninety years later, social work continues to shadowbox with Flexner's speech in its struggle to find answers to the dilemmas inherent in defining its professionalidentity. This article describes findings from an exploration of Flexner's speech and its influence on social work's early professional development. The inquiry reveals that Flexner's assessment of the field is largely misunderstood and interpreted anachronistically. It also unravels the myths aboutFlexner's influence on the field's early professional development. (Journal abstract)

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