Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Joe Hanley, The ‘quality’ of social work students in England: a genealogy of discourse 2002–18. Critical and Radical Social Work, online: August 23, 2019

DOI: 10.1332/204986019X15567132118821

Open access

Students entering university-based social work qualifying education are increasingly constructed in policy as lacking in quality. This article presents a genealogy of discourse examining major reports and policy documents in England from 2002 to 2018 in order to understand how the dominant discourse around these students has changed since the introduction of the social work degree as the minimum qualification for practice. Key findings from the genealogy are that the quality of students has increasingly been described in negative terms, and this is linked in the discourse to a lack of employer involvement and the poor public perception of the profession. Fast-track social work qualifying programmes are presented as the self-evident answer to these issues within this discursive formation. However, it is ultimately shown that the current discursive direction may actually be leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy that deters students from joining the social work profession through any qualifying route.

2 thoughts on “The ‘quality’ of social work students in England: a genealogy of discourse 2002–18 (2019)

  1. Well let me tell you that it is deplorable in the US as the move to pop certifications and degrees have begun to make inroads into the professions to pay back their huge student loans to the Big Banks. It appears that they cannot work well with patients and have few or downright wrong skills. they too are in a box as to how they can practice. They work for large institutions at a salary and no longer take payment from their patients. The institutions make out like bandits from third party payments. Very depressing. So after being unable to really help people the tray of medications comes out to choose from.

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