Journal Article

Reading Social Work Competing Discourses in the <i>Rules and Requirements for the Diploma in Social Work</i>


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 27, issue 5, pages 641-658
Published in print October 1997 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 1997 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Reading Social Work Competing Discourses in the Rules and Requirements for the Diploma in Social Work

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The changes which have taken place across all of social work education and practice in Britain introduce a new phase for the profession in line with wider political and economic changes in the UK. The Rules and Requirements for the Diploma in Social Work exemplify these changes, and the document containing them is a useful focus for an analysis of what is at stake. This article employs discourse analysis to examine the ideological functions of the Dip.S.W. regulations and their relationship to wider social discourses, having in mind both the disciplining role of discourse and its possibilities for transformation. It identifies a dominant regulatory discourse, and an oppositional liberatory discourse which are in dialogue with each other and with related discourses. The article considers the construction of social work in the document in its surveillance, managerialist, competence-based functions. The analysis also looks for contradictory voices in these discourses and in CCETSW'. Welsh Language Policy and Equal Opportunities Statement, which might offer sites of resistance and refusal. It is argued that the shape of the stage social work has entered into is not inevitable, and the destabilizing potential of such an analysis creates a space for the imagination of alternatives.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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