12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Moral agency in everyday safeguarding work: rec...
View graph of relations

« Back

Moral agency in everyday safeguarding work: reclaiming hope in the small stories of family support - some lessons from John Dewey

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2012
Journalfamilies Relationships and Societies
Journal number3
Volume1
Number of pages17
Pages293-309
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article engages with international concerns about the negative impact of an expanding neoliberal project on the professional values of social work. Examining theoretical debates about human agency, a case is made for cultivating a moral sensibility in the practitioner workforce to resist the excesses of the neoliberal paradigm. Rejecting depictions of the practitioner as 'institutional dope', discussion excavates the early work of classical pragmatist John Dewey to counter assertions that institutional context simply determines practitioner beliefs and actions. A number of illustrative examples are provided from the author's fieldwork in sites of local authority children's services, which challenge a presumed singularity of ethical disposition. Excerpts from practitioners' case deliberations are offered as 'small stories' of hope and illustrate the heterogeneity of frontline practice. The article aims to speak to readers in search of a more hopeful imaginary for social work and who are wary of monolithic accounts of practice.