There is no doubt that scientific inquiry has vastly contributed to the social work body of knowledge. It is due to this fact that for educators it can be quite easy to fool oneself into thinking that this scientific contribution of knowledge represents the sum total of social work knowledge and thus teach accordingly. Yet similar to a body builder who only develops one's arm and chest muscles while ignoring development of one's leg muscles, such an approach to teaching achieves a disproportional result. A more balanced approach to the social work body of knowledge via accessing both the objective knowledge of scientific inquiry and the subjective knowledge of postmodern inquiry offers a way to holistically engage students in their acquisition and application of said knowledge. As these students enter practice, their ability to employ both scientific and postmodern forms of inquiry offers them the knowledge base and capability to engage holistically with clients.
This chapter elaborated mimesis as a theory to inform postmodern inquiry that has applicability to both the teaching and the helping situation. As stated previously, both social constructionism and phenomenology are theories that also direct postmodern inquiry in the creation of subjective knowledge. When combined with the objective knowledge of scientific inquiry, learning experiences can be created in which concepts such as resilience and empowerment take on a deeper meaning for students and get woven into their personal narratives—thereby making them more effective social workers.