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.
You are looking at 21 - 30 of 3,683 items
This chapter is a reflection on the methods and ethics of doing fieldwork with highly vulnerable children. Fired up with good intentions, a knowledge of children’s rights, and a belief in the necessity of child-focused anthropology, a quarter of a century ago I went to Thailand with the aim of working with child prostitutes. My naive intention was to explore the children’s lives and suggest solutions to the problems they faced. I found the reality very different from my expectations, and therefore this chapter looks at the lacuna between my theoretical knowledge of ethics and the difficulties I had making sense of them on the ground. Here I discuss how my feelings about this work have changed over time and I interrogate the mistakes I made during both fieldwork and ‘writing up’. The chapter looks at the strengths and weaknesses of child-centred anthropology, raising questions about how to interpret children’s voices when they do not fit with one’s own worldview or morality. In doing so it looks at the lifelong impacts such research can have on both researcher and researched and questions the purpose of such research and whose needs it fulfils
This chapter presents personal reflections and insights from my own fieldwork experiences. These ethnographic studies involved the children of sex workers in a red -light area in Pune, India, and children living in the conflict zone of Indian-administered Kashmir. The chapter addresses questions of reflexivity as an ethical stance, and the integral and dynamic role of researcher identity, which highlights the emotional labour of doing research on such sensitive research themes. This chapter also evaluates methods, tools, and fieldwork practices used to elicit the views of vulnerable children often neglected in such controversial and contested topics.
This chapter discusses childhood and research with children, particularly those living in peripheral countries or contexts of multiple disadvantages. It centres on reflexivity as a tool for diminishing barriers of research, whether power, privilege, or binaries of us–them. The chapter acknowledges childhood essentialisms reproduced by dominant traditions and agendas, and calls for a shift in the ‘gaze’ on childhood. The discussion outlines the unequal contexts of the indigenous Sabar community as the focus of the study, upon which reflexive discussions are based. Observing research as a ‘site for reflexivity’, the chapter elucidates the reflexive strategies (such as reciprocity and relationality) adopted to emphasise the invisibilised voice of the Sabar children and adults. In doing so, it undertakes an examination of how reflexivity may respond to children’s ontological realities, epistemological differences, or ‘ways of being, knowing and doing’. This chapter contributes to a call for a methodological and ethical ‘turn’ in research, in order to engage peripheral childhoods. In concluding, the chapter discusses the possibilities of reflexivity moving beyond researcher positionality and structural negotiations, to the ontological, methodological, and epistemic framings of research. It proposes that such a reflexive ‘turn’, in acknowledging other-ness, can decentre dominant discourses, knowledge production, and dissemination.
This chapter reflects upon the movement towards young people as drivers of social change in relation to research, policy, and practice. Young people are critical in influencing the reformation of youth provision and are recognised as experts in their own lived realities. Recent efforts have been made to ensure that young people have an active participatory voice in shaping service development. While the move towards such co-production and participation is commendable, it is equally important to be critical and reflexive of this process. This chapter challenges the current discourse around the notion of participation, focusing on the embedding of consultation and co-production with young people. Based on focus group interviews and creative methods, with over 90 young people this chapter highlights the relational processes and the unpredictable nature of research with young people.
The article revisits an idea developed and explicated by the author in the early 2000s: that social work can be understood as a (site of) memory concerning societal conflicts and, at the same time, as an open archive or storage that holds very different answers to social questions across time and space. The genesis of this figure of thought is reconstructed and contextualised theoretically, historically and politically. Thus, the idea of social work as memory of conflicts or open archive itself can be characterised as one specific answer to the dispute over history and memory (not only related to social work), while, at the same time, providing new approaches to understanding social work’s present(s) and future(s). Therefore, the article ends with reflections on ‘appropriate’ representations of social work’s history in social work education.
This article makes the submission that social work is stuck and needs now to find ways to endure its commitments to caring from inside the suspended time that is so characteristic of late capitalism and not from some imaginary place outside of it. When telling this time in the form of history, there is a tendency to want to pass over what is most difficult about it – the inescapable fact of having to live through it – just at the moment when this is the reality most in need of being carefully thought about. Remembering that in talking about social work, we are talking about a labour of care defined, in part, by a sensitive, practical engagement with time that is difficult to live, I look to recent feminist theoretical work on care that can help us to think about how we might handle being stuck in painful time.
This discussion seeks to critically explore the white, colonial narrative of gender-based and sexual violence that has justified and facilitated increased carceral power in responding to the social issue. In particular, I aim to emphasise the ways in which carcerality obscures the complex histories and dynamics of gender-based and sexual violence in order to individualise and privatise the problem. To demonstrate these dynamics, I will analyse: (1) the characterisation of perpetrators of gender-based and sexual violence as violent ‘Others’; (2) the centring of white women’s narratives in justifying increases to carceral power and implementing criminalising policies; (3) the extension of the carceral gaze through social work service provision; and (4) the fallacies of postfeminism facilitated by carceral logics. This discussion will conclude with exploring the possibilities of abolitionist social work and anti-carceral feminism in challenging the white narrative and creating space for partial histories to emerge.
Electronic gaming machines are normalised business within Australia’s hotels and clubs. Concentrated within low socio-economic and disadvantaged communities, this high-intensity form of gambling creates the often-hidden addiction of problem gambling and the associated widespread social harms. This qualitative study uses radical social work thinking to explore gaming venue employees’ perceptions and experiences of implementing ‘responsible gambling measures’, ostensibly aimed at mitigating the social consequences and harms of problematic gambling. Our analysis reveals that neoliberal ideologies mean that gaming venue employees support ‘freedom of choice’ narratives, which ignore the structural influences at play when an individual becomes an ‘irresponsible’ consumer/gambler. Social workers must be cognisant of the ways in which the notion of the ‘(ir)responsible gambler’ skews how problem gambling and problem gamblers are viewed. The social harms from electronic gaming machines are complex and widespread, and deserve more recognition and attention in social work practice, policy and research.
Colonial critical social work education is a strange place. It professes a goal of social justice but subscribes to an often-unconscious compliance with what has been named as ‘colonial’ or ‘white time’. White time sets and enforces limits for the completion of courses, programmes and assignments. Such colonial chrononormativity also sets and enforces what counts as and in history. In this article, we question this time compliance, tracing literature on critical temporalities that take up, for example, crip, queer and pandemic time. Drawing on abolitionist work, we then outline how colonial time may also be transcarceral, that is, confining and punishing, especially when we commit time-crime and ‘miss’ a deadline. Indeed, by delving into the little-known but violent history of deadlines, we hope to encourage more refusals of transcarceral time, as well as deliberate discussions that create space for a range of temporalities in our classrooms and beyond.
While the term ‘social work’ has established itself internationally, many countries have alternative social professions with rich histories and distinct theory bases. This article examines a German example by theoretically considering a discipline central to child welfare: social pedagogy. The frameworks of key theorists are presented, reconstructing an intellectual lineage in education discourses and Continental philosophy. The case of social pedagogy acts as a reminder of mainstream theory bases quite different to those historically seen in Anglo-Saxon social work. Positivist perspectives are absent; instead, hermeneutics and critical theory have been dominant theoretical sources. Kant’s concept of Mündigkeit (‘maturity’), that is, the ability of a person to be a self-determining subject, reveals itself as the theoretical anchor point, linking the earliest theory making with later emancipatory and lifeworld approaches. The concepts that are recurrent in discourses can be amalgamated to define the discipline, and a tentative composite German social pedagogy definition is cautiously suggested.