Journal Article

A History of the Present: Uncovering Discourses in (South African) Child Welfare

Jeanette Schmid

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 7, pages 2102-2118
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
A History of the Present: Uncovering Discourses in (South African) Child Welfare

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Foucault's analytical methods of archaeology and genealogy reveal that South African child welfare thinking cannot be clearly divided into an apartheid and post-apartheid epoch. Rather, this history of the present identifies that a Child Protection discourse continues to dominate current child welfare legislation and policies, both at a state and an agency level, even while the language of a Developmental Social Welfare discourse is utilised. The dominance of the Child Protection discourse allows service users and service providers to be constructed in such a way that maintains the use of an intrusive, individualistic approach to child welfare that effectively overlooks the impact of structural factors on the lives of vulnerable children and their families. Archaeology and genealogy provide valuable tools for uncovering the dominant and marginalised discourses and for analyzing the circulation of power within a particular child welfare system.

Keywords: Child welfare; genealogy; developmental social welfare

Journal Article.  6349 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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