Mind the Gaps: The rise and implications of cynicism within social work
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThis paper explores the notable rise of cynicism among state social workers in Britain. Theoretically, cynicism has been viewed as ‘deviant emotion’ and pathology or as offering a type of employee resistance that may protect or support a person’s identity. Drawing upon case study research with practising social workers, the article looks at three different case examples of employee cynicism. These include the cynic as organisational survivor, disenfranchised sceptic or altruist. It was found that, although cynicism within social work predominately emerges as an emotional response to structural change, other factors such as those embodied within professional discourses and government or academic rhetoric can also impact. Other factors such as risk-averse assumptions that distance the practitioner from the ‘service user’ or colleagues can also have influence. Although often viewed negatively, cynicism can greatly benefit an organisation or motivate a practitioner to challenge normative principles and promote the needs of service users and carers.
CitationCarey, M. (2014). Mind the Gaps: The rise and implications of cynicism within social work. British Journal of Social Work, 44 (1), pp. 127-144.
PublisherOxford University Press
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
DescriptionThis is a pre-copy edited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The version of record Carey, M. (2014). Mind the Gaps: The rise and implications of cynicism within social work. British Journal of Social Work, 44 (1), pp. 127-144 is available online at: http://bjsw.oxfordjournals.org/content/44/1/127
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