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Title: Exploring the identities and perspectives of social workers with environmental interests
Author: Gordon, Holly L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 7569
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2018
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This research contributes to the relatively small collection of primary research exploring environmental social work. The research is qualitative in design and is underpinned by critical theory. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 14 Welsh based, social work participants who all possessed a self-identified interest in environmental issues. The interviews elicited biographical narratives which were subject to thematic analysis. This gave insight into the development of such interests through childhood experiences, contact with nature and rural living. The underlying beliefs systems of participants were highlighted as political, spiritual and ecological awareness. The participants offered accounts of how social work and the natural environment were connected for them. The rural social work field shaped perspectives which were holistic and anti-discriminatory, containing evidence of structural understandings. Practice involving nature as a tool for individual change, food based initiatives and green work based behaviours emerged. The participants’ narratives are presented through a Bourdieusian lens. Barriers to integration were explored with notions of restrictiveness and disillusionment emerging from a neoliberal setting. The participants contributed to the development of the action stage. The action stage first, investigated the inclusion of the natural environment in the social work curricula in 5 Welsh Universities. The survey revealed a focus on individualised approaches being given priority with limited attention given to the wider environment. Phase two, involved the delivery of lectures on the subject of green social work in two universities. A post lecture evaluation form highlighted an interest in the subject amongst students as well as a perception of it being both relevant and of value to contemporary social work practice. Recommendations are made in relation to social work education, giving attention to food based initiatives and a reconsideration of community based social work with a focus on sustainability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.S.W.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV40 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice