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    Recollection-as-method in social welfare practice: dirty work, shame and resistance

    Dobson, Rachael (2017) Recollection-as-method in social welfare practice: dirty work, shame and resistance. Qualitative Research Journal 17 (3), pp. 164-176. ISSN 1443-9883.

    Dobson, R (2017) Recollection-as-method in social welfare practice dirty work, shame and resistance, Qualitative Research Journal.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to introduce a methodology for critical welfare practice research, “recollection-as-method”, and to use this to demonstrate the social relations of social welfare institutions. Design/methodology/approach: The paper analyses a series of personal recollections from the author’s experiences of academic life and welfare work to establish a methodology for critical welfare practice research. This uses concepts memory, dirty work, shame and complicity, and is grounded in critical feminist and critical race work, and psychosocial and socio-cultural approaches to governance. Findings: The paper establishes a methodology for critical welfare practice research by demonstrating the significance of using an ontologically driven approach to governance, to achieve a realistic and complex understanding of statutory welfare work. Research limitations/implications: Recollections are post hoc narrations, written in the present day. The ethics and robustness of this approach are deliberated in the paper. Practical implications: The focus of the paper is on statutory welfare practice that involves the assessment and regulation of homeless people. Principles and arguments developed in this paper contribute to reflective and reflexive debates across “front-line” social welfare practice fields in and beyond homelessness. Examples include assessment of social groups such as unemployed people, refugees and asylum seekers. Arguments also have application for criminal justice settings such as for prison work. Social implications: This foregrounds practitioner ambivalence and resistance in order to theorise the social relations of social welfare institutions. Originality/value: The recollection-as-method approach provides a methodology for critical practice research by demonstrating an alternative way to understand the realities of welfare work. It argues that understanding how resistance and complicity operate in less conscious and more structural ways is important for understanding the social relations of social welfare institutions and the role of good/bad feeling for these processes. This is important for understanding interventions required for anti-oppressive social change across the social worlds of policy-practice life.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Resistance, Emotions, Welfare, Power, Shame, Agency, Reflexive, Memory, Dirty work, Psychosocial, Insider, Recollection
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Rachael Dobson
    Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2017 15:39
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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