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Perspectives from India and the United States

Shweta Singh, Loyola University

     The classic paradigm “think globally and act locally” is discovering a new relevance in the context of social development, as it provides a useful perspective on addressing the needs of nations as complex and diverse as India. In order to understand a country’s motivation for change and social action, it is first necessary to understand the history of the people and their way of life. Social Work and Social Development: Perspectives from India and the United States compares India and the United States’ approaches to social work and social development. The book highlights the similarities between the two countries, especially the cultural pluralism, democratic political structures, and social welfare policy commitments that make possible an inclusionary exchange of knowledge in the fields of social work and social development.

     The contributors to this book include both US and Indian experts in sociology, theology, women’s studies, and social work. They examine both micro and macro issues ranging from religious pluralism, population migration, and criminal justice to child welfare, health care, and mental health policies. This unique approach integrates these multiple perspectives and provides a faceted picture of social structures and change in both countries.

     The goals of this book are to move finally beyond the ethnocentric mantra of applying “developed” solutions to “developing” problems and redefine the parameters for understanding people and problems in international social work. It is a unique and valuable resource for course work in social work, social development, international studies, and Asian studies. The framework presented in this book can be used as a model for further comparisons, so that we truly can begin thinking globally while acting locally not just in India, but in the United States and the rest of the world.


  • A unique framework for international comparisons that can be applied beyond
    the United States and India
  • Contributions from US and Indian experts in social work, sociology, theology,
    philosophy, and women’s studies
  • Concept overviews preceding each part and discussion questions following each chapter


Introductionto India: Interdisciplinary, Multilevel, Bicultural Perspective
Part I: The Roots of Social Work: Values, Religion, and Philosophy in India
1. Tracing Indian Philosophy and Its Contributions
    Parthasarathi Mondal
2. Who Is a Hindu?
    Devendra Nath Tiwari
3. True Islamic Traditions
    Arvind Kumar Rai
4. Toward a Transreligious Synthesis
    Daniel B. Lee
Part II: The Social Development Trajectory and Its Human and Environmental Consequences
5. Social Development and Planning in Developing Countries

Vivek Kumar

6. Planning Development in the United States

Philip Young P. Hong

7. Agrarian Transition and Farmers’ Suicides

R. S. Deshpande

8. Impacts of Rapid Restructuring in Agriculture on Farm Families: The 1980s Farm Financial Crisis in Iowa

Daniel Otto and Paul Lasley

9. Beyond Megacities: Next Generation Urban Development in India

Sudeshna Chatterjee

10. Community Organization Strategies in the Informal Settlements of the Urban Poor

Anand Jagtap

11. Building Grassroots-Anchored Global Networks

Philip Nyden

12. National Alliance of People’s Movements: Multiculturalism, Migration, and Globalization
    Medha Patkar
13. Multiculturalism, Migration, and Globalization: Reflections on Deterritorialization in India
    Stephen N. Haymes and Maria Vidal de Haymes
14. Making Public Participation Fundamental to Environmental Monitoring and Decision Making
    Leo F. Saldanha
15. Environmental Movements in India: Differing Perspectives and Dimensions
    Prashant Bansode
16. Two Hundred Fifty Years of Environmental Activism in the United States: A Story of Partial Success?
    J. Marshall Eames and Nancy C. Tuchman
Part III: Family Social Welfare and Corrections
17. Growth and Development of Child Welfare in India
    Nilima Pande
18. A Comparative Look at Family and Child Welfare in India and the United States
    James Garbarino
19. A Framework for Understanding Women and Gender in a Comparative Perspective
    Elizabeth Jones Hemenway
20. Aging and Caregiving Practices in India
    Habibullah Ansari
21. Impact of an Aging Society: United States
    Marcia Spira
22. Social Work Intervention in Criminal Justice: Field-Theory Linkage
    Vijay Raghavan
23. American Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Restorative Justice
    Edward J. Gumz
Part IV: Health and Mental Health in India
24. Primary Health Care: Issues and Perspectives with Reference to Developing Countries
    Ratnendra Ramesh Shinde
25. Self-Reliance in Health: Parallels between the United States and India
    John Orwat and Vivian T. Chen
26. Gender and Health in India: Issues beyond Access to Health-Care Services
    Lakshmi Lingam
27. Mental Health Policies and Programs in India
    K. Shekar
28. Mental Health: An American Response
    James Marley
29. Understanding Mental Health Problems in Mumbai Slums
    Shubhangi R. Parkar
Part V: Emerging Issues of Importance
30. Terrorism Laws of India: A Look at the Legal Framework in Light of Human Rights Concerns
    A. Nagarathna
31. Theater to Television: A Study of Community and Communication in India
    Manjiri Ketkar-Maslekar
32. Perspectives on Emergence and Regulation of the Voluntary Sector in Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia
    Vidya Rao

About the Author

Shweta Singh (MSW, The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India; PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago and an associate faculty member of the women and gender studies department. Her current research projects focus on issues of migration, work, education, and mental health in developing countries and issues of identity in women and girls. Her international work includes assignments with UNICEF, OXFAM, and CII.

2013 paperback, 429 pages, ISBN 978-1-933478-66-1, $69.95