This paper uses a political/economic lens to explore the relationship of social group work to the larger social work profession. The author studied the group work collection at the Social Welfare History Archives, the journal THE GROUP from the 1940s and 1950s, the proceedings of the re-born group work organization, Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, and interviewed several prominent group workers who were active in social group work from the 1940s. The author concludes that group work's decision to merge with NAS W in 1955 provided the hoped-for professional identity. However, there were consequences for group workers that were not anticipated and, ultimately, resulted in the disappearance of group work as an integral part of social work education and practice.

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