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Abstract

How one defines the world has consequences for one's actions in the world. Sociology has attempted to utilize the scientific method to help human beings understand their social world. However, in the process of its development, sociology has reflected the ideological bias of its practitioners. (Mills, 1943). Irving Zeitlin (1968, pp. vii) claims "Much of classical sociology arose within the context of a debate - first with eighteenth-century thought of the Enlightenment, and later with its true heir of the nineteenth century, Karl Marx."

The central theme of this paper is that social work education makes extensive use of conflict theory in selecting the social science concepts we teach. The concepts are selected to fit the practice technology, which developed prior to the formalization of social work education. The conflict theories most prevalent in social work education are direct descendents of the "conflict ideology developed in the name of business groups in modern society.. .which lies close to the mainstream of sociological development - Social Darwinism" (Martindale, 1960). Social Darwinism is a polemic with the conflict ideology developed in the name of the proletariat-Marxism."

We further maintain that the derivatives of Social Darwinism are an integral part of the prevailing ideas of society and reflect the continuing debate with Marxism.

We will explore briefly the contrasting positions of Marxism and the mainstream sociology in the areas of stratification theories, alienation, and power and politics. Throughout we contend that we select from the body of social science theory and ideology those concepts which provide an intellectual rationale for our existing practice skills and technology.

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