The relationship of the church and state in social work : four case studies in a context
The research focusses on the study of four separate groups of workers involved in the provision of some form of social work service. Each group is based in a well-known setting, which has a distinctive historical and organisational background. Two are specifically religious, namely Roman Catholic Sisters working with families in their own homes, and those staffing a Salvation Army Hostel for the Single Homeless; and two are of a secular and statutory nature, namely non-qualified staff within a Social Services Department, and those running a Government Reception Centre for the Single Homeless. The thesis is divided into four distinct sections. Section A, consisting of two chapters, aims to introduce the reader to the research, to the structure of the thesis, and more specifically to the overall methodology which was adopted. This necessarily includes a discussion of the actual methods utilised, including the process of writing up, and the approach employed towards existing literature. It is a moving methodology whose approach demands a more fluid, multi-disciplinary approach to other literature, and a presentation or form which relates to both method and content. Having set the scene in Section A, Section B turns to the empirical material and provides the first of the two main empirical sections. Again consisting of two chapters, the first is concerned with the historical development of the four institutions involved. These descriptive sub-sections are then followed by an historical analysis of the relationship of church and state, and finally the our groups are set in relationship to the Welfare State, Chapter Four focusses on the other structural way of making sense of institutions, that of ideology. Having introduced the concept of ideology, particularly in relation to practice, the contemporary role of the church in the 'welfare state' is considered. The chapter also examines five ideological issues which were seen to influence carers. Section C presents the empirical data as related to three central themes: Chapter Five-Perceptions of Work, Chapter Six-Social Service Work and Client Groups, and, Chapter Seven-Community and Bureaucracy as Organisational Forms. Chapter Five is concerned with perceptions of work and focusses attention on those studied as "workers". The importance of work as a category of analysis only emerged during the research, but the chapter becomes central to the whole thesis, dealing with a considerable range of empirical material. Chapter Six concentrates on the clients' experiences of the four institutions from which they sought help. This information was not gained by direct interview but from observation and inference from what worcers said. The final Chapter turns to the organisational form within which the service is provided, for this too had emerged as a fundamental issue. Community, as measured in terms of the members' sense of solidarity and significance, is contrasted with bureaucracy. Two concrete examples of the effects of organisation are examined, as are the implications of community for those who 'care'. Section D necessarily aims to draw together those findings already reported (both implicitly and explicitly) and to comment upon them. The first part of Chapter Eight concentrates on exploring various 'Ways of Concluding' findings derived from such a methodology. The idea of community as an important organisational form for the carers emerges from a wide range of conclusions as the most significant. The second part is devoted to the implications for future research and practice, not least in terms of the methodology and the actual process of writing up such research. The thesis concludes with pointers for areas of future research.