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Title: The dilemmas of contemporary social work: a case study of the social work degree in England
Author: Higgins, Martyn
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2013
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The social work degree was established in 2002 to improve the status and competency of social workers. However, after the death of Peter Connelly in 2007 and the final report of the Social Work Task Force (2009) it became subject to a series of significant changes with the establishment of the Social Work Reform Board to implement the revisions to social work education and social work practice. The aim of this study is to identify how the degree can illuminate the dilemmas of contemporary social work practice. A qualitative case study of a social work degree programme in England was undertaken after obtaining ethical approval. Data was collected at two different points in time by means of interviews and focus groups. Interviews were conducted with academics (10), practice educators (8) and academics involved in practice learning (2). Two focus groups were undertaken with service users (11) and three focus groups with students (17). A total of 48 participants were involved in the data collection. A thematic analysis approach was adopted utilising Braun and Clark's (2006) model. The findings indicated that the social work degree contained a number of inherent contradictions which were reflected in social work practice. The contribution of this study lies in the linking of the identified dichotomies in social work education and practice to a wider conceptual structure. These contrasting models or understandings of contemporary social work practice needed to be contextualised within the framework of the complexity and ambivalence of late modern society within which there exist an individualised approach to risk and a loss of trust in the professions. Any reform of the social work profession would have to adopt a critical framework consistent with a late modern conceptualisation of risk and professional expertise. Key words: social work degree, social work, reform
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available