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Title: In the gaps and on the margins : social work in England, 1940-1970
Author: Bray, Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 0199
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the role of social work within post-war England, particularly its place within the welfare state and wider society. The thesis focuses on social work’s ambiguous position ‘in the gaps’ and ‘on the margins’, where it operated between a variety of spheres, including other professions in the medical and social services, policy-makers, individual clients and communities, and social researchers. Within this position, social workers were commonly tasked with mediating between these different groups, and helping to interpret the various languages and expectations present in post-war English welfare and society. This meant that social workers aimed to make the provision and consumption of welfare more effective, both through working closely with individuals, families, and communities, and through promoting efficient coordination and cooperation between the welfare services. The thesis discusses the problems which this approach sought to address, and the issues which resulted. The study of social workers offers an insight into the negotiations and compromises implicit in post-war society, and also allows us to consider how issues of social change and the problems which emerged or persisted in post-war England were navigated. The thesis also considers the relationship of social work with the psychological and social sciences, and seeks to reconsider how concepts from those disciplines were utilised within welfare practice. This includes an emphasis on pragmatic practice, on the discretion of the individual worker, and on the attempts of social workers to generate knowledge about the field of their work and the efficacy of their intervention. Overall, the thesis shows how closer attention to social work can illuminate some of the tensions which arose in the post-war provision of medical and social services, in the everyday practice of welfare, and as a result of social, cultural, and demographic change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain