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Hafford-Letchfield, Trish (2015)
  • Publisher: Routledge

This chapter looks at the concept of power in social work by focusing on what this means as a ‘professional’ and theorizes competing discourses of empowerment in social work and its key concepts, drawing in particular on the explanatory powers of critical theorist Michel Foucault (1991). The chapter problematizes the concept of power by explicitly drawing on both users’ and carers’ accounts from the literature to demonstrate different external and internal influences on the root causes of disempowerment. It also explores everyday issues around ‘safeguarding’ and ‘vulnerability’ in relation to how different service users are supported to make decisions about their own care and support through 2 key scenarios where some of the challenges in relation to exercising power ethically and the dilemmas faced in staying close to the values of social work in its everyday context are considered in detail.
  • References (3)

    Bar-On, A (2002) Restoring power to social work practice British Journal of Social Work, 32 (8) : 997-1014

    Birmingham Safeguarding Board (2013) Serious Case Review: In respect of the death of Keanu Williams Inquiry. Birmingham.

    Bowes, A., Daniel, B. (2010) 'Introduction: Interrogating Harm and Abuse: A Lifespan Approach', Social Policy & Society 9 (2): 221-229 British Association of Social Workers (2013) All party parliamentary group on Social Work: Inquiry into the State of Social Work report. Birmingham, BASW Chambon, A.S. (1999) 'Foucault's Approach', in A.S. Chambon, A. Irvine and L. Epstein (eds) Reading Foucault for Social Work, pp. 51-82. New York: Columbia University Press.

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