Journal Article

‘No Irish Need Apply’: Social Work in Britain and the History and Politics of Exclusionary Paradigms and Practices

Paul Michael Garrett

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 32, issue 4, pages 477-494
Published in print June 2002 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/32.4.477
‘No Irish Need Apply’: Social Work in Britain and the History and Politics of Exclusionary Paradigms and Practices

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In Britain, Irish people have continually been excluded from the discourse of anti‐discriminatory social work theory. The main reason for this centres on the dominant tendency to exclusively centre on ‘race’ and visible difference. Recent policy documents in relation to social work with children and families illustrate the fact that Irish people are omitted in discussions seeking to promote culturally appropriate services. Conceptually this approach is founded on implicit ideas about British identity and erroneously suggests that white ethnicities are homogeneous, unified and clearly demarcated from a (new) black presence. Historically, ideas associated with ‘the problem family’ can be related to the racialization of Irish people. Archival research examining responses to unmarried mothers travelling to Britain to have ‘illegitimate’ babies adopted also highlights how Irish women have been subject to exclusionary social care practices. Whilst rejecting an essentialist conceptualization of ‘Irishness’, the article goes on to suggest that the mainstream and hegemonic discourse on ‘race’ needs to take specific account of Irish people and other minority ethnicities not identifying as ‘black’, particularly during a period of globalization and new migration into Britain by refugees and asylum seekers.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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