'Life is about choices, but external factors often affect outcomes': social work students' reasoning about the origins of social problems

Kirk, Guy and Duschinsky, Robbie (2014) 'Life is about choices, but external factors often affect outcomes': social work students' reasoning about the origins of social problems. Critical and Radical Social Work, 2 (1). pp. 77-92. ISSN 20498608

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204986014X13912564145726

Abstract

It has been suggested that the emerging generation of social workers tend to be motivated primarily by a perception of the individual as the locus of 'social problems', ignoring the structural factors that shape and constrain the conditions of agency. Questionnaire research with 150 students on an undergraduate Social Work degree programme in the north-east of England investigated student perceptions of the origins and causes of social problems. It was found that student discourse appeared to operate within a context shaped by neoliberal assumptions regarding the nature and causes of social problems. Within that frame, however, students contested the idea that social problems are simply a result of poor individual choices and recognised the impact of inequalities on opportunities and outcomes. Findings showed that students' awareness of these issues increased as they moved through the social work programme. This provides grounds for optimism about the potential of social work education to nurture the development of a more radical discourse for social work practice among social work students.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Critical and Radical Social Work. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Kirk, G., Duschinsky, R.(2014) 'Life is about choices, but external factors often affect outcomes': social work students' reasoning about the origins of social problems, Critical and Radical Social Work, 2 (1), pp. 77-92] is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204986014X13912564145726
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social justice, social problems, social work education, student motivations
Subjects: L500 Social Work
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > School of Health, Community and Education Studies > Social Work and Communities
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2014 13:47
Last Modified: 12 May 2017 08:41
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/16606

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