AbstractThis study aims to critically analyse and explore how social workers (operating in the adult social work practice domain) draw on wider social (and social work) discourses in accounting for the work that they do. Utilising purposeful samples of students and qualified social work practitioners, this exploratory study of discourses analyses the implications this has on the construction of the social work identity, role and practice (action). Driven by a series of research questions, the objectives of this research were: 1) To critically analyse and explore the discourses on which students and social work practitioners draw on in their accounts of social work practice; 2) To identify and critically analyse the subject positions and discursive practices (collective ways of speaking) of social workers in respect of these discourses; 3) To critically analyse how and in what way social workers at different stages of the career trajectory draw differently upon these discourses; 4) To critically analyse and evaluate the implications for practice and service users of the respondents’ subject positioning and the discursive practices that they employ; 5) Develop a critically reflexive method (model) for social work education and research in order to make recommendations for research, education and critical social work practice (in the context of self-awareness). As this study involves several people in the exploration of adult social work (Community Care policy context), it will contribute to knowledge of the meaning given to contemporary social work. It does so by expanding the concept of discourse analysis to the wider social context in which the overall narrative (story) is ‘told’. This research aims to understand how respondents draw on discourses in particular ways and includes an analysis of the contradictions and gaps within the overall narrative of social work. Stemming from wider pre-determined narratives that are available in social work cultures, this study not only analyses the words themselves by utilising discourse analytic tools, but demonstrates new ways in which to apply critical discourse analysis in the exploration of accounts of social work. In this examination, this research critically analyses and evaluates the implications these discourses can have on identity construction (personal and professional self), as well as on those social work intends to benefit (service users).
CitationRoscoe, K. D. (2014). Social work discourses: An exploratory study. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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