This article investigates the way in which disadvantaged minority social workers’ professional excellence is encouraged, drawing data from an analysis of primary documents and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 21 Palestinian welfare bureau managers in Israel. It finds that the Jewish voluntary sector is the sole player encouraging Palestinian minority social workers’ excellence, but its encouragement maintains the status quo regime, politicisation and alienation, and pushes towards neoliberalism. Most of the Palestinian welfare bureaus consciously prefer to avoid encouraging social workers’ excellence to avoid confrontation with the central government in the form of the Israeli Welfare Ministry. A small group of welfare bureaus sufficed with indirect encouragement, enlisting non-governmental organisations for the task because of the paucity of resources. A small number of bureaus that granted excellence certificates and a token gift applied three considerations. Excellence awards constituted a method for coping with the challenges facing Palestinian minority social work.
The article discusses the emergency placement of children by the Norwegian Child Welfare Services. Nine mothers were interviewed about their experiences of the transfer of care of their children. Several of the mothers had their children removed due to an emergency decision. The article focuses on one of these stories and analyses the way in which emergency placement can be seen as a form of communication and practice. The purpose of this article is to generate knowledge about how the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ is used to legitimise emergency placements and how this practice might cause more harm than benefits for individual children. The article’s analytical perspective is grounded in the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann.
For-profit companies have begun competing with women’s shelters for ‘clients’ trying to escape violence. Using discourse theory, this study examines how 20 private shelters describe their business. The analysis shows that private shelters describe themselves as: (1) having a broad expertise and target group: (2) being able to tend to the individual needs of any client; and (3) being highly available and flexible. We understand this as an expression of a neoliberal market discourse and as a way to differentiate themselves from women’s shelters. This may put pressure on women’s shelters to provide similar ‘inclusion’, availability and flexibility. Furthermore: (4) private shelters contribute to shaping a desirable neoliberal subject, that is, a self-reliant woman; and (5), by articulating needs as individual and inherently mundane, they lean more towards ‘providing accommodation’ than addressing the particularities of (gendered) violence.
We begin this chapter with a critical account of attachment theory and then consider how neuroscientific knowledge is furthering, or in some cases limiting, our understanding of these theories. We briefly explore the relationship between attachment and childhood adversity and consider the question: does one lead to the other? We then explore what we know about the effect of poor and potentially damaging childhood experiences and consider the brain research in this area. We look at the areas of the brain that have been most fully researched: predominantly the amygdala, the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Lastly, we look at the work that has taken place to investigate the plight of Romanian orphans, victims of the ill-fated Ceauşescu regime of the period 1965–1989.
The concept of attachment was developed in the 1950s by several researchers, although it is usually credited primarily to the psychologist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby. The work of Bowlby, alongside his colleague Mary Ainsworth in the United Kingdom and Harry Harlow in the United States, fundamentally and irrevocably changed our understanding of the relationship between infants and parents. Bowlby presented evidence from studies of both humans and animals to demonstrate his theory, including Konrad Lorenz’s work on imprinting and Harry Harlow’s work with Rhesus monkeys. This latter work showed, for example, that young monkeys separated from their mother will prefer to cling to a cloth-covered wire doll rather than a bare wire doll, even if it is the bare wire doll that provides them with milk.
This bestselling textbook provides social science students with an accessible introduction to neuroscience and the implications for our understandings of child development, considering the links between brain development and social and cultural issues.
Now covering the 0-18+ age range, the new edition critically analyses the relationship between children and young people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings and the ways in which their developing brains are structured. It includes a new section on emotional development in adolescence, considering the impact of drugs and alcohol on the brain and the role of brain changes in driving risky behaviours.
Assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, the text connects the latest scientific knowledge to the practice of understanding and working with children. Incorporating the latest research and debate throughout, the book offers students and practitioners working with children:
case studies showing how brain science is changing practice;
a companion website including self-test questions;
end-of-chapter summaries, further reading and questions to test knowledge;
a glossary of neuroscientific terms.
Developing an awareness that the physical world exists beyond our own senses is a major development in infant cognition. Early theories of child cognition based a large part of their research on trying to understand how infants begin to learn about their physical world. It is a large task to begin to comprehend a three-dimensional world through sensory processing. Infants have sensory systems and motor skills to enable them to explore the physical world. Through singular and combined sensory input and motor exploration, they gradually learn about various physical properties around them such as the solidity of objects and that the three-dimensional physical world exists outside of themselves. A key topic in infant cognition is how children learn object permanence, namely that a psychical world exists in space and time independently from themselves.
To understand this, infants need to develop the ability to perceive objects and realise that an object is the same even when it is moving in space. Shape constancy is this tendency to perceive the shape of an object as constant despite differences in the viewing angle (and consequent differences in the shape of the pattern projected on the retina of the eye).
Modern research has recast our thinking on how children perceive objects, and new techniques have allowed us to better understand the basic mechanisms of object perception in infancy. Object perception is thought to be mediated by two separable cortical regions and visual pathways, the ventral and dorsal pathways.
The urgent bawl of a newborn baby would suggest that there is a capacity for emotional expression from the get-go, even if the range is somewhat limited. Yet we cannot be sure that what we are seeing is the expression of a discrete emotion such as anger or sadness or rather something more basic and undifferentiated that cannot be understood as a specific emotional expression.
Are emotions developed or constructed? There are two distinct paradigms. There are those who see emotions are ‘natural’, arising from distinct neural pathways in the brain that are present at birth. This paradigm seeks to understand which emotions are present at birth and which develop during the early years of life. This is sometimes referred to as a locationist model as it seeks to locate emotions in discrete areas of the brain.
The second paradigm is proposed by the constructionist school. In this approach emotions are seen as being constructed of basic psychological processes. Emotional experiences are created in the mind, are not located in specific brain areas and are dependent on language for their construction.
Our understanding of genetics has developed substantially over the last hundred years or so, particularly since the publication of the human genome, a project that began in 1990 and was completed in 2003. We now know that genes determine which traits we inherit from our parents. Genes are located on chromosomes, coiled double helix pieces of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
We inherit our genes from our mother and father. Human sexual reproduction means that the cells from the male sperm and those from the female egg are combined in such a way that the genes contained within each chromosome are shuffled around to produce a unique recombination.
Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. One half of each pair comes from the mother and the other half from the father. These genes determine our physical appearance – whether, for example, our eyes are green, blue or brown, whether our hair is blonde or brown, whether we are right- or left-handed. Genes also play a central role in determining our behavioural characteristics. None of this is controlled by a single gene.
In this chapter we begin by exploring the central nervous system and introduce you to some of its important elements. We begin with the outer crinkly layer, the cerebral cortex, and describe the main divisions. We then look at the subcortical brain and introduce the different parts of this such as the cerebellum, the amygdala and the hippocampus. We spend some time explaining the terms used to describe navigation through the brain. Terms such as ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ are not sufficient to describe human brains: something might be at the top when we stand up but would be somewhere else when we lie down!
We explore the different types of cells that are found in the brain such as neurons, dendrites, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Finally, we take a critical look at the process of picturing the brain. Many people assume that these wonderful, coloured images we see are photographs of the brain. We show this is far from the truth and consider the limitations of our abilities to really see what is happening inside our heads and, of course, the heads of children.
This chapter covers a broad range of issues around the relationship between what we put into the bodies of developing infants, children and young people and consequent brain development. We begin with food and diet and provide evidence to show that poor diet and poverty can have a devastating effect on brain development. We consider the problem in many parts of the world of simply getting enough to eat and look at the role of protein and fatty acids in building a healthy brain. In the second half of the chapter, we move away from food and look at the consequences of other substances such as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol on brain development. We evaluate the effect of these on the developing foetus and on the brains of teenagers.