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Making Sense of Social Work’s Troubled Past: Professional Identity, Collective Memory and the Quest for Historical Justice

Ioakimidis, Vasilios and Trimikliniotis, Nicos (2020) 'Making Sense of Social Work’s Troubled Past: Professional Identity, Collective Memory and the Quest for Historical Justice.' The British Journal of Social Work, 50 (6). pp. 1890-1908. ISSN 0045-3102

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Abstract

Social work historiography has neglected to engage meaningfully with the most troubling aspects of the profession’s past: the histories of complicity, or at least acquiescence, in acts of state violence and institutionalised oppression. Through the exploration of historical case studies, this article provides a tentative typology of social work’s ‘horrible histories’ focusing on the project of engineering the ideal-type family, in colonial and oppressive socio-political contexts. The authors argue that practices of oppression and complicity can neither be reduced to the ‘few bad apples’ approach nor judged through the individualising prism of moralism, prevalent in Kantian Ethics. Instead, they propose an ethics of transformative reconciliation which is based on the principles of apology, respect for victims and collective action for—professional and social—change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethics, oppression, radical social work, reconciliation, social work history
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2020 09:05
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2022 01:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28471

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