Transforming social work identities: towards a European model?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter I chart the decline of social work in Scotland from its optimistic beginnings in the Social Work (Scotland) Act (1968) to the present where it is described as a ‘profession lacking in confidence in its own skills and unclear about its distinctive contribution’ (SE 2006a: 14). I focus on social work with children and families addressing the retreat from a welfare discourse to one of neoliberal consumerism – a shift which is made manifest in fragmented discourses around children and how best to respond to their needs and which has also impacted on social workers’ professional identities. Declining trust in welfare professionals, spawning rafts of regulation and scrutiny has, I suggest, contributed to the air of pessimism that permeates state social work across the UK polities. Against this backdrop, I discuss the possibilities offered by European models of social pedagogy as providing an alternative paradigm for work with children and families. Ideas at the core of such European models, I argue, resonate with Scottish welfare traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Transformation of Children's Services
Subtitle of host publicationExamining and debating the complexities of inter/professional working
EditorsJoan Forbes, Cate Watson
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781136735998
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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