Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services: Interaction, Identities, and Practices

Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services: Interaction, Identities, and Practices

Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services: Interaction, Identities, and Practices

Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services: Interaction, Identities, and Practices

Synopsis

This innovative book explores social work as a series of encounters - between clients and social workers, social workers, their colleagues and other professionals, and more widely between citizens and the state. Providing a variety of social constructionist perspectives on the idea of the 'client', it presents in-depth discussion of the roles, language and contexts of meetings between social workers and their clients.

Excerpt

The four of us met at the 1997 conference, hosted and organized by the Department of Social Policy and Social Work in Tampere on the theme of social constructionism and social work. In fact there are a number of contributors to the book who were present with us also. This was perhaps the first time that we realized that the area of social constructionism was one of considerable interest to a variety of different practitioners and researchers in the social work field, and that it was well worth trying to develop international collaboration. The idea for the book started to develop seriously in 1999. We then contacted a number of people we knew were interested in the topic. We engaged in all kinds of face-to-face, e-mail and telephone conversations and started to put the book together seriously in 2000. As a part of the process we also built in two seminars which took place in the first half of 2001. One of these was held in Tampere, Finland, and the other in Huddersfield, UK. Approximately half the contributors were able to come to the Tampere seminar and the other half to Huddersfield. By this point we had all drafted our different papers and we spent many hours together discussing, developing and refining our thinking. The seminars proved very enjoyable, very instructive and very helpful both in terms of putting the book together and in terms of developing our thinking.

There are a number of people we would like to thank. First, our contributors, all of whom have been a delight to work with and have kept to the promptings and deadlines we have suggested throughout. Second, the translators, particularly in relation to some of the Nordic papers, who have provided an invaluable service. Third, and by no means last, Sue Hanson, the Research Assistant in the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies at the University of Huddersfield, who has acted to co-ordinate and bring the various papers together in preparation for the publication.

We see this publication as very much part of a process and expect there will be other projects that will be developing both alongside it and as a result of it.

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