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Constructing men in child protection work

Scourfield, Jonathan Bryn ORCID: 2001. Constructing men in child protection work. Men and Masculinities 4 (1) , pp. 70-89. 10.1177/1097184X01004001004

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The child protection process has been characterized by some commentators as being primarily concerned with the scrutiny of mothering. For a variety of reasons, social workers tend to spend relatively little time working with men in families where children are considered to be at risk. Even where a man is considered to be the primary abuser in a family, the usual approach is to concentrate on the mother's “failure to protect” the children. This article presents an analysis of data from an ethnographic study in a child and family social work team in the United Kingdom, which set out to explore this concentration on mothering and avoidance of men. The article outlines some discourses of masculinity in the occupational culture of child protection social work: men as a threat, men as no use, men as irrelevant, men as absent, men as no different from women, and men as better than women. The author's contention is that if injustice to women in social work provision is to be addressed, these gendered constructions of clients have to be made explicit and their implications understood.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Uncontrolled Keywords: child protection ; child abuse ; social work ; social construction ; discourse ; masculinity
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1097-184X
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:19

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