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The Social Model of Disability as a Threshold Concept: Troublesome Knowledge and Liminal Spaces in Social Work Education

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalSocial Work Education
Journal number2
Volume31
Number of pages12
Pages215-226
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper draws on the notion of threshold concepts to consider the way in which disability studies has the capacity to transform social work students' understandings of disability and therefore influence their practice. Most students enter social work programmes with the professed aim of ‘helping’ and so to be confronted by an approach (the social model of disability) and a body of research and theorising (disability studies) that challenges their taken-for-granted assumption that social work practice is ‘helpful’ is unsettling and can lead to resistance. The purpose of this article is to interrogate practice on a social work programme where a commitment to social model practice is explicated and embedded with the purpose of identifying what it is we want students to ‘get’, whether they find this troubling and how they can be effectively supported as they move through liminal spaces in social work education.