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Moral agency in everyday safeguarding work: reclaiming hope in the small stories of family support - some lessons from John Dewey

Broadhurst, Karen (2012) Moral agency in everyday safeguarding work: reclaiming hope in the small stories of family support - some lessons from John Dewey. families Relationships and Societies, 1 (3). pp. 293-309. ISSN 2046-7435

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Abstract

This article engages with international concerns about the negative impact of an expanding neoliberal project on the professional values of social work. Examining theoretical debates about human agency, a case is made for cultivating a moral sensibility in the practitioner workforce to resist the excesses of the neoliberal paradigm. Rejecting depictions of the practitioner as 'institutional dope', discussion excavates the early work of classical pragmatist John Dewey to counter assertions that institutional context simply determines practitioner beliefs and actions. A number of illustrative examples are provided from the author's fieldwork in sites of local authority children's services, which challenge a presumed singularity of ethical disposition. Excerpts from practitioners' case deliberations are offered as 'small stories' of hope and illustrate the heterogeneity of frontline practice. The article aims to speak to readers in search of a more hopeful imaginary for social work and who are wary of monolithic accounts of practice.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: families Relationships and Societies
Uncontrolled Keywords: NEOLIBERALISM ; FAMILY SUPPORT ; MORAL AGENCY
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Applied Social Science
ID Code: 56504
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 31 Jul 2012 13:36
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 08:35
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/56504

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