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Title: The social organisation of social work
Authors: Roffe, Michael
Issue Date: 1996
Publisher: © Michael Roffe
Abstract: The need to try to work in partnership with parents during a child protection investigation is a legally-derived expectation of social work practice. Yet very few empirical studies have examined what social workers and their clients say to each other when parents are being assessed for the risk they might present to their children. The patterning of such talk, and how this might perform a range of activities is addressed in this thesis. Social work can be said to derive its practice from twin concerns with 'care' and 'control'. I describe the ways these themes are made relevant by participants in child protection investigations using an approach based on Conversation and Discourse Analysis. The main sources of data are transcriptions of audio recordings of six extended meetings between social workers and parents. The discourse of the worker-client meetings is examined for how it orients to, constitutes and makes relevant the participants' contrasting roles and responsibilities. A central analytic theme I consider is the conversational management of co-operation in social work. This arises out of my examination of research on the professional-client relationship in social work and also studies of institutional interactions in particular settings. Goffman's (1984) concept of 'footing' and Edwards and Potter's (1992) recent reworking of this within a 'discursive' approach to social psychology are enlisted among other sources to analyse the interactions. The series of analyses which I present show how local interactional difficulties are created by the professional's attempts to affiliate with parents. These are resolved sequentially and interactionally as the talk oscillates between various activities associated with the participants' accountability. I take social work to be constituted by the orientations of the participants to the control and care dimensions of child protection. Throughout the thesis, the aim is to validate my approach through a dialogue with other research studies and also through considering the participants' own orientations to the issues under discussion.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/7334
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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