1.1 Active reading and questioning

Activity 1

2 hours 0 minutes

Being ‘critical’ is a vital concept for both academic study and professional practice in this unit. This first activity combines both by asking you to read and act
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the nature and boundaries of personal and professional discretion and judgement in the delivery of social work services; recognising the complex tensions between personal and social processes in people's lives;

  • demonstrate an understanding of the complex relationship between justice, care and control and the practical and ethical effects of this relationship.


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Introduction

The unit explores what it means to become a critical social work practitioner by using a series of activities and readings to guide you through some new and important concepts. An understanding of ‘critical perspectives’ will help you take a positive and constructive approach to the challenging problems that arise in social work practice.

You will be introduced to a critical understanding of the nature and boundaries of personal and professional discretion and judgement in the deliv
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary and is used under licence.

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References

Putnam, R.D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community, New York, Simon Schuster.
Stott, M. and Hodges, J. (1996) ‘Local exchange and trading systems, never knowingly understood’, Local Economy, November, pp. 266–8.
Taylor, M. (2003) Public Policy in the Community, London, Palgrave Macmillan.
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6 Limitations of LETS

Figure 3

5 Comment on the audio clips

The benefits mentioned in the clips included a skills outlet, developing organising and networking skills, improvements to the members' self-esteem, and better social contact than before. There were also practical benefits in terms of getting help with household, gardening and computing problems. Any disadvantages were hard to identify. People were enthusiastic about their experiences. Through involving someone like Jan Hurst, the disadvantages of self-help with its tendency towards rather cl
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4 Audio activity

Now listen to the audio clips. As you listen, make notes on:

  • what you think are the benefits and disadvantages of LETS schemes for their members;

  • to what extent these schemes fit with a community development approach;

  • what might be some longer-term outcomes for the schemes and their members.


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3 Peter, Roger, Rachel, Jenny and Veera

Figure 2

1 LETS: A community development

You will shortly be listening to a sequence of audio clips, which focus on the use of LETS as a community development tool. Should LETS come ‘from above’ or ‘from the grassroots’?

Principles of self-help and co-operation work well in neighbourhoods and communities where there are resources and supportive networks. However, even in strongly cohesive communities, some people may find it difficult to join in, for reasons of disability, age or marginal status. In communities that ar
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5 General points on assessment

Activity 5

Look at the notes you have made on the four clips, and decide what general points about assessment have been made.

Discussion

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2.2.2 Florence Foster

In 2000, Florence Foster was in her sixties. For a number of years, she had lived in a tenement in Dundee owned by a private landlord. As she describes in the programme, her accommodation was extremely damp and difficult to heat. There was green mould growing in the wardrobe in her bedroom, and all the window frames were rotten. She was dependent on electric fires for heating, which she had to pay for through a card meter. Her weekly income did not enable her to put sufficient cards in the me
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2 Background to the Annual Report of the Chinese Welfare Association (1998)

The first Chinese families arrived in Northern Ireland in the early 1960s. Since then the Chinese population has continued to grow in number and economic strength to become the largest minority ethnic group. There are approximately 8,000 people and over 500 Chinese businesses across Northern Ireland. Most of these businesses are family-run restaurants and takeaways. Working in the catering industry involves long, unsociable working hours and few opportunities for integration into the wider co
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References

Barham, P. (1997) Closing the Asylum: The Mental Patient in Modern Society, London, Penguin.
Barnes, M. and Walker, A. (1996) ‘Consumerism versus Empowerment: a principled approach to the involvement of older service users’, Policy and Politics, 24 (4) pp.375–93.
Blofeld, J. (2003) Independent Inquiry into the Death of David Bennett, Cambridge, Nor
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4.2 Essential shared capabilities for mental health

While professional groups will be expected to retain their distinctive roles to some extent, the demand for change is increasingly strong. Professionals are increasingly expected to focus on the range of elements of good practice which they share, many of which have been historically associated with social work. One important example of the demand for change in this direction can be found in the introduction in England of The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities: A Framework for the Whole of
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4.1 Mental health specialists

Social workers are often regarded as the chief proponents of the social model of mental health. Because of the value-base of social work, they are also often seen as being in a strong position to challenge inequality and address the consequences of stigma and discrimination in mental health. In this section you will see how other professionals are increasingly expected to emphasise similar goals in The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities for mental health professionals.

As well as
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3.2 Racism in mental health services

Research has shown that people from particular minority ethnic groups are over-represented in some psychiatric diagnostic categories compared with others. One of the most hotly debated issues concerns what appears to be the relatively high number of African-Caribbean men who receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, compared with white or other minority ethnic groups. Given what you have seen about the difficulties in defining mental health and illness, it will be no surprise to learn that
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3.1 Understanding stigma

In the first half of Section 3, the focus is on the nature of the stigmatisation and discrimination which can be experienced by people with mental health problems. The section then turns to consider racism in mental health services and the impact this has on black service users.

The ‘stigma’ of mental illness and distress refers to the idea that such experiences are a disgrace or an embarrassment, not only to the person concerned, but also to those around them. To be mentally distre
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