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Social Work: Events


Recognition, Relationships and Re-thinking social work intervention

Recognition, Relationships and Re-thinking social work intervention
Speaker: Danielle Turney # Professor of Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast; Speaker: Gerry Marshall # Lecturer in Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast
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Date and Time
30th Oct 2019 15:00 - 30th Oct 2019 16:00
Martin Hall, New College, University of Edinburgh, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX

Danielle Turney, Professor of Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast.

Biography: Danielle has been involved in social work research, education and training for many years and worked at Goldsmiths, University of London, the Open University and University of Bristol before moving to her present post in 2018. She is a registered social worker and has taught on qualifying and post-qualifying level social work programmes, focusing on work with children and families, and within the broader field of health and social care. She currently convenes the Child Care Pathway of the post-qualifying Masters in Applied Social Studies programme at Queen’s.

Danielle’s research has focused mainly on three broad areas: relationship-based practice; child welfare and protection, with particular reference to child neglect; and critical thinking and professional judgement in social work assessment and decision-making. Her work is underpinned by an abiding interest in using theory to inform, support and develop social work practice, and she has focused recently on frameworks that support an understanding of relationships of care. She has published widely, with recent work including the second edition of Relationship-Based Social Work: Getting to the heart of practice, co-edited with Gillian Ruch and Adrian Ward.

Abstract: Reclaiming the respect agenda: social work practice with children and young people who have experienced neglect.

The wide-ranging and potentially severe long-term damage caused by child neglect has been well documented. In particular, it has been noted that neglect is likely to affect the factors that promote a positive sense of self and provide some protection in adversity, namely a secure base, good self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy. So developing ways to support the development of a positive sense of self may have particular relevance for working to reduce, or mitigate the effects of, child neglect. I suggest that a relationship-based approach based on the notion of respect can make a particular contribution in this regard. But the paper argues that the commitment to respect needs to be located within a broader context that moves beyond the ‘simply personal’ or psychological aspects of respect and incorporates a broader social dimension of understanding and responsibility. I look to Honneth’s Recognition Theory to provide such a framework, and outline an approach for practice that addresses intra-personal, inter-personal and more broadly social dynamics in the construction and meaning of relationships. The paper explores how placing respect and the inter-related concepts of recognition and reciprocity at the heart of relationships (personal, professional and societal) can support ethical, effective and humane child protection practice. In so doing, it calls for a rethinking and re-positioning of the notion of respect in private, professional and public life.


Gerry Marshall is a lecturer in Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast.

Biography: Prior to moving into academia, he was an Inspector of Children’s Services with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority for ten years. Gerry has previously been a social work practitioner and manager within child protection, residential child care and children with disabilities teams. Gerry is completing his doctoral studies at Queen’s University and his area of research interests relate to residential child care and the identity formation of young people who live in the care of the state. Gerry has recently worked with the NI Health and Social Care Board to review specialist residential care in Northern Ireland. Gerry sits on the Safeguarding Committee for the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Abstract: Nurturing, maintaining and supporting positive identity formation for children and young people in residential care is an under researched area. Reasons for this are varied, not least the fact that residential care, as a viable alternative for children and young people when they cannot live at home, has, for decades, occupied an ambiguous position in child welfare policy. Historically a popular option, more recently the service has come under fire with concerns about cost, value for money and the quality of care offered to children and young people. On the latter point, the most recent nationally and internationally government commissioned Inquiries into historical allegations of abuse experienced by children and young people in residential care, raise serious questions about whether residential care can ever be a positive choice; whether it can offer high quality care that promotes development and wellbeing; and, within this, whether it can nurture, maintain and support positive identity formation. This paper argues that residential child care is a positive choice, that it has a key role in positive identity formation. This paper explores some of the complex issues relating to what we understand by 'relationships' in residential care and explores the possible contribution ‘recognition theory’ (Honneth, 1995), can offer in this regard.

Please note: this talk may be filmed and/or photographed.

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