Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Micro vs. Macro

Hello everybody - Thanks for checking out my post, (my very first ever blog post) not that you have any other options this week! No pressure though to make the topic thought provoking and insightful!!

     I wanted to focus on the topic that came up briefly during our lecture - the duality of the social worker's role in our society or micro verses macro. I think conversation on this topic is pertinent for all of us during this phase in our career. Many of us are evaluating our personal strengths and weaknesses as we make decisions on field placement and personal paths of employment.

     When it was brought up in class my mind jumped to the debate of "working mothers" vs. "stay-at home moms". The debate has been going on for the last few decades because of the rise of women in the workplace. As we know from the "Rosie the Riveter" card placed on the timeline, women filled the shoes of their fighting male counterparts in factories during WWII. After the war the soldiers returned home and so did the women; where they stayed for sometime. The 1960's gave way to much social change and that paved the way for the modern women's right movement of the 1970's. This gave more opportunity for women to pursue education and careers of their own.  Along the way, we saw as the economic shift that changed from a family being able to survive on a single incomes to many families needing a second income to make ends meet. This faced many more moms with the challenge of staying home with the children or joining the work force...

     There is no right answer - we know that BUT there is a whole industry built around "pitting one side against the other". Many would argue that media, mainly magazines play to the insecurities women on both sides. This influence makes one side feel "right" and the other feel "wrong" - instead of honoring both roles and realizing the strengths of one only make the other more valued.

OK, now to bridge the two thoughts....

     When we look at the debate over social work - MICRO vs. MACRO we can see how the STAY-AT-HOME MOM might be comparable to the MICRO LEVEL WORKERS as opposed to the WORKING MOM drawling a parallel to the  MACRO LEVEL WORKER.

Now some questions:
What is the value of one role as opposed to the other,?
Could we have one without the other?
Does societal changes influence one role or the other and their importance?
How does one's own personal life experience influence their choice in which role to assume?
What personal traits make a person better suited for one role or the other?
What personal values/beliefs influence ones choice?
How can we assume both roles without sacrifice?

     The dramatic visual we were posed with last night in class, about babies in a river gave us a lot of food for thought...

I think in today's modern society we are more blessed than ever. When we sit on the riverbank we are not isolated. We have a smart phone in our pocket - we have social media - ways to voice issues and concerns and yell for help, we have a contact list a mile long and can call for back up with we can swim any more, we can access google maps and find out where the babies are being dumped in at, we have ways to contact the best net makers on the planet that will gladly support our cause and make us a world class net to catch many more babies. 

We have the whole world at our finger tips and with the right knowledge we can utilize that to join the forces of MICRO and MACRO together. 

     Just like all moms have the same goal of raising great kids - all those who enter into social work need to focus on the one goal of making a better world. Some in social work have a strong skill set that make them best suited for MICRO work and some have vision and imagination that make them better MACRO. These two sides can and should work together to initiate real change. 

     ....If we look to the biblical story of Moses we see the last famous baby to come floating down a river ended up liberating the Israelite people from oppressive Egyptian slavery. Had the pharaoh's daughter went to see who put him in the river as opposes to getting him out the whole course of history would be changed! 

Her work on the micro level gave Moses the platform to work on the macro!


  1. Great Post Mahria, I also thought a lot about Prof. Susan's talk on micro vs. macro. Until it was brought up in the lecture on Tuesday, I had always viewed micro and macro work as two separate practices, when in actuality they are much more intertwined then I had previously realized and that they are both a reflection of the other. The problems of the collective individuals will become systemic and effect their community, just as the problems facing a community effect each individual separately. Therefore, I believe that in order to be effective social workers we have to pay equal attention to both the micro and macro wether we are working in a 1-on-1 counseling setting or in large scale state or city politics, it is imperative that we understand the wants and needs of the individual and the society that they are a part of, and how future policies will effect them both.

  2. Hello Mahria, I agree that modern society is a blessing. We have a lot of information right at our fingertips. We're only a finger tap away from voicing our concerns and discussing issues that we may be faced with. I like how you discuss Micro and Macro and and how situations were viewed differently in the past and how modern media can help kind of build a bridge between the two. If the example Susan gave us 10-20 years ago, the response to this might be different, since technology was different in those times. I think it's very important for a social worker to be strong skilled in both Micro and Macro.

  3. Hello Mariah,

    I can also agree with your statement about today’s society being “more blessed than ever” but this blessing took a lot of strong courageous people that stood up for our right. After reading your blog post the first thing that came to my mind was the Suffragist video of women fighting for the right of voting. I think that we are blessed but there is so much inequality in our society that we must continue to fight against. When you talked about the working mothers versus the stay at home mother, I see inequality there because a single mother can work and do just as good or even better than his counterpart and earn a lower salary. On the other hand a stay at home mother can be looked upon as lazy. Even though with today’s economy both parents have to work to be able to provide for their family, the reality is that there are many single mothers working and providing for their children on their own.

  4. Hello everyone,
    I too agree that we are more blessed then the women back in the day. We have more resources than they had and much more help. It's just up to a person to take action and advantage of what is being offered. However, like Maria stated it took the courage of other people to stand up for what they though was right so that we could have a better future. In addition a stay at home mother would be great if the husband could provide her her and their family but at some point she would have to help. I feel as though every mother has had their share of being a stay at home mom its just the fact of mothers getting too comfortable.