Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Social work : the social organisation of an invisible trade
Author: Pithouse, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0000 8406 6031
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1984
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The thesis investigates the occupational experience of child care social work and the way this is made a shared and meaningful activity for members of a welfare setting. It is demonstrated that social work is an inherently 'invisible' trade that cannot be 'seen' without sharing in the practitioners' own routines for understanding their complex occupational world. Social work is invisible in three ways. First, social workers who visit people in the privacy of their own homes do so unobserved by colleagues. Secondly, social work is also invisible to the extent that the outcomes of practice are uncertain and ambiguous. Lastly, social work is invisible in so far as practitioners do not typically collect, order and analyse, the events that make up their routine activities. Like all of us they engage in relationships, meanings and acts that are taken for granted and make for a predictable social world. These features of the occupational experience have profound consequences on the way work is socially organised, particularly in relation to the assessment of work as satisfactory or otherwise. The thesis examines the way in which members of a social work setting routinely organise their day to day work and make this a shared and thereby visible orderly event. In doing so the enquiry looks to organisational, collegial and consumer elements of the occupational world. it is shown that workers practice from and sustain an insulated organisational locale where there is minimal scrutiny of daily routines. They look to their immediate colleague group for a sense of esteem and occupational worth deemed absent in the work environment. Within this colleague network practices are made visible through shared assumptions about satisfactory social work. Similarly, those who receive the service are managed in the context of practitioners' definitions about appropriate relationships between themselves and the clientele. The research consists of a discovery and analysis of the way that members perceive and manage organisational, collegial and consumer relationships. In doing so the thesis reveals the typical practitioner ways of making unobserved and uncertain practice a visible predictable and satisfactory day to day activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available