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|Title:||“STANDING ON JELLO”: IMAGES AND EXPERIENCES OF ‘ALTERNATIVE’ SOCIAL WORK|
|Authors:||Dustin, Jennifer A.|
|Keywords:||social work;alternative;arts-based research;images;social work practice;Social Work;Social Work|
|Abstract:||<p>Grounded in postmodern and social constructionist theories, this research was designed to challenge 'mainstream' views of social work practice. Three social workers with extensive backgrounds in various social work roles were asked to submit individual arts-based representations of 'alternative' social work. The arts-based representations (a story, a tool box, and a medicine wheel) were shared in a focus group where the topics of mainstream and alternative social work were collectively explored. I present an analysis of the representations, offer a brief structural narrative analysis of how the participants talked about mainstream and alternative social work, and explore the dissonance surrounding the term 'alternative social work.'</p> <p>The findings indicate that social workers who are interested in, or identify with alternative social work implement creative strategies to balance many, often conflicting, responsibilities and commitments. At the core of this study is a fundamental ideological tension in how social work is understood. The focus group revealed that what is commonly identified as 'alternative' social work, is judged by these research participants as 'good' social work. Rather than being a form of resistance to mainstream social work, alternative social work appears as a means of implementing participants' visions of effective, responsible and humane practice.</p> <p>This study highlights how social workers struggle to represent themselves and their (desired) practice in today's political context. Images of 'good practice' offer insight into how social workers can and do respond to neoliberal pressures; these images and participants' reflections on them have potential to widen public and professional consciousness.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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