Narratives of exclusion, narratives of belonging. Irish social work at the intersection between adults' and children's voices

Farini, Federico and Scollan, Angela ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Narratives of exclusion, narratives of belonging. Irish social work at the intersection between adults' and children's voices. Manchester 2019: 14th ESA Conference - Abstract book. In: ESA Conference 2019: Europe and Beyond: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging, 20-23 August 2019, Manchester, United Kingdom. e-ISBN 9782956908708. [Conference or Workshop Item]


RN04 - Sociology of Children and Childhood

Five years since the creation of the Child and Family Agency that embodied the cultural shift towards in Irish Social Work towards the recognition of children as active participants in making decisions that affect their lives(1)(2), a research was designed to explore the spaces of children’s voices in Irish Social Services. The methodology consisted in 8 interviews with children aged 12 to 14 to promote children’s narratives around their interactions with Social Workers. The narratives collected allowed a phenomenological description of the interplay between adults’ voices and children’s voices(3)(4).

The presentation discusses three types of narratives: 1) narratives of boundaries between children and social workers along the lines of a difficult construction of trust based on ephemeral interactions; 2) narratives of barriers for children’s voices that are subordinated to the Family-State partnership, indicating the ambiguous status of rights-based policies. These narratives appear to be tightly intertwined. More eccentric is the position of narratives of belonging to child-adult relationships based on affective expectations(5), when children are promoted as the main partner of the Social Workers and their authority raised consequently to circumstances affecting their family.

Sociological research argues that between representations of childhood and practices of working with children the gap regards the actual spaces for children’s voices(6)(7).

Whilst children-adult partnership and empowerment of children’s voices underpin Irish policies, yet children seem to recognise boundaries that alienate from, as well as barriers that prevent, a meaningful involvement in decisions that affect their life. However, in situations when family-State partnership is precluded Services need to upgrade children’s authority. The risk of trusting children can foster their sense of belonging to the relationship with the Social Worker.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 27556
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Depositing User: Angela Scollan
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2019 08:54
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2021 17:25

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