Our Social Work publishing features books and journals that help to address issues arising from poverty, inequality and social injustice.
The list includes monographs, textbooks and practitioner guides, series, including Research in Social Work co-published with the European Social Work Research Association, and the Critical and Radical Social Work and European Social Work Research journals.
Policy Press is the leading UK book publisher for books on child abuse, child sexual exploitation, child protection and children’s social work.
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Over the last decade, at a time when funding for services intended to support families has been dramatically curtailed, successive governments in England and Wales have sought to increase the numbers of children being adopted from care. In light of the central role that children’s social workers play in progressing plans for adoption, this research seeks to investigate 15 practitioners’ experiences of operating within the current context. Evidence of significant tensions in social workers’ accounts of planning for adoption and post-adoption contact under austerity is presented, and Evetts’ distinction between organisational and occupational professionalism is drawn upon to understand the influence of the wider political context on decisions made by practitioners in working with children who go on to be adopted.
This article is concerned with the employment of pathologising discourses of mental health and trauma by the mainstream media as they pertain to the treatment of migrants in detention in Canada. Using critical discourse analysis, this research contrasts mainstream media coverage of four major publications on immigration detention. It explores the media’s role in the (re)creation of refugee discourse, and as a purveyor of racial ideology, which problematises people of colour and demands state intervention in the form of mental health aid. The resulting discourse pathologises the refugee identity and simultaneously obscures the socio-political conditions and violence that necessitates their departure from their home countries. As refugee discourse is infused with biomedical understandings of mental health, it also legitimises the nation state’s practice of coercive social control for these populations through detention.
Social work defines itself as a social justice profession, yet the historical record also shows social workers resisting social change, promoting social division and contributing to social exclusion. When social workers are unaware of these ‘hard’ histories, they are unable to identify destructive professional practices or reconcile with those whom social work has harmed. In this article, I present a model for using local history – in this case, the history of the University of Georgia School of Social Work – as a catalyst to help students confront and unpack ‘hard’ history. I unravel the interwoven local histories of cotton mills, women’s charitable activities and a system of entrenched racial hierarchy, and present a method for making the historical materials available and vivid to students. I conclude that we must welcome difficult history into our professional historiography as a necessary step towards becoming the liberatory profession we need to be.
This chapter centres on an incident that occurred when carrying out research with children, in which a child fell and bumped their head. The reflexive ripples of that event form the focus of this chapter. The aim of the study was to explore children’s perceptions of their school playground, a graveyard, a potentially ‘sensitive’ topic to navigate. The chapter reflexively considers the implications of utilising and remaining true to the feminist methodological ideals and ethics of care that underpinned this study. Such paradigms embrace care, closeness, emotional engagement, and connectedness with participants, and call for researchers to interrogate their own positions within the research encounter. In reflexively uncovering the many ‘selves’ we brought to this fieldwork, some of which were unexpected – academic, teacher, nurse, mother – the chapter scrutinises our actions during this encounter, here represented by comforting a child through touch. This response became the site of our anxieties, and the intensity of our emotional labour, as we wrestled dominant safeguarding discourses of ‘do not touch children’ with methodological values and personal biographies. Revealing such happenings is not easy but being reflexive compels us to question our actions, even those, or particularly those, we might prefer not to share.
This chapter outlines the complexities and methodological issues in adopting a reflexive approach as part of a research project entitled ‘More Than …’. This chapter will illustrate the ways in which we as researchers used reflexivity across our research project, from ethical concerns to decisions around the dissemination of data. The chapter explores, through the lens of reflexivity, the decisions made concerning research design, methods, and ethical processes, where the positionality of the researchers emerged as salient when researching with disabled young people.
This collection explores leading values and concepts in global child-based research through the lens of reflexivity.
The book considers issues such as the identities and roles of researchers, as well as the burdens, boundaries and ethical frameworks which govern their activities. Using empirical examples from Israel, India, Thailand and England, expert contributors discuss a range of topics to include online safeguards, disabilities, gang membership, child protection and various sex-related issues.
This book guides childhood research towards a more reflexive debate that critically challenges conventions, highlighting plurality of voice and improving outcomes.
This chapter provides a detailed reflexive account of my research process for ‘Digital Artefact vs Digital Fingerprint: An Ethnography of Gangs Online’ to problematise the concept of ‘do no harm’ for the digital child and the digital researcher. This chapter draws from a digital ethnography which used publicly available data, triangulated with eight expert interviews and participant observation in 12 focus groups about gangs and social media. Research was conducted in secondary schools located in a borough identified as having high levels of serious youth violence. I demonstrate how child protection frameworks ultimately placed limits on children’s voices, which resulted in my becoming a covert researcher, ‘lurking’ online, as sanctioned and deemed preferable by the ethics committee. The concept of ‘do no harm’ and the ethics associated therewith had underestimated the child’s life and potential harm online. Covert online research made defensible to protect ‘offline children’ exposed me to high levels of trauma. This chapter critically explores how we, as researchers, can respond to research trauma. I highlight why I will never ‘lurk’ again and how we can move forward with online research with vulnerable populations by applying feminist methodologies.
Aspects of sexuality accompany the individual from infancy through adolescence to adulthood. In terms of the hegemonic discourse, sexual maturity marks the dividing line between childhood and adolescence, so there is little discussion of sexuality during the period of childhood. The public consensus is that the sexualisation of culture as a construct of childhood is negative and many parents and teachers are reluctant to provide sex education to children. Along with this, children use the internet as a source of information about various topics, including sex and sexuality. This chapter discusses the sexting phenoSmenon (sending and receiving sexual messages) among children and young people and suggests ways of addressing this behaviour. After reviewing the relevant research literature, we examine ethical issues, our dilemmas and reflections as both researchers and mothers when conducting such research, and our understanding of the fears many parents harbour about their children’s encounters with sexuality.
Reflexivity is an expansive notion and a methodological idea[l] that can be applied across many aspects of research, from ontological positions to epistemological and methodological questions, and further to global and political issues. This volume focuses on the insights that such reflexivity offers to research with children by bringing together researchers who incorporate and interrogate this concept as a central tenet of their work. Reflexivity is used, throughout the volume, to shine a light onto the decisions we make as researchers, our uncertainties and concerns within the research process, and the actions we take with our co-producers in research, children. Reflexivity grants us permission to share our research journeys and all their imperfections with an openness and honesty previously denied. The volume argues for a paradigm shift that moves away from simply ‘collecting’ the voices of children to the inclusion of reflexivity as a way to develop a more meaningful encounter with our contributors, a deeper exposition of self, position, power, and thinking, and a moral imperative to improve the lives of our participants. The volume and its contributors argue that the inclusion and wider involvement of reflexivity provides the next step in moving forward methodologies that research children and childhood.
This chapter uses the concept of reflexivity to discuss how child voice, as distinct from children’s participation, is the product of a dynamic interplay of relationships that occurs within and outside of the child protection system. A critical reflection of the significant role of political structures, processes, relationships, narratives, and the linkages between them in child protection work shows the complex variables that influence the implementation of child voice in child protection. The multiplicity of socio-cultural aspects of participation, policymaking, and practice with children is discussed in terms of an ‘ecosystem’ that draws attention to the complexity of structural and cultural conditions that influence child voice. Moreover, our understanding of child voice can be developed by making tangible the unarticulated politicisation of child voice that sits in the background of everyday practice.