Social Science & Social Studies

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    Valuing equality in Irish social care
    (Social Care Ireland, 2009) Hanlon, Niall
    In this article the author critiques Irish social care by presenting an equality perspective on practice. An equality perspective involves developing emancipatory practices, that is, ways of helping that provide egalitarian solutions and outcomes. Although emancipatory values are often contrasted with traditional social care values, the author seeks a pragmatic and integrated approach to emancipatory practices rather than a restatement of traditional dichotomies. Emancipatory practice begins with an appreciation of the nature and relevance of inequalities on the lives of diverse social care users. Building a commitment to equality within social care education and practice is an important step in altering many individual and institutional social care practices by focussing on equality processes and outcomes as central social care objectives. Using a well credited framework that outlines five dimensions of inequality (Baker, Lynch, Cantillon and Walsh, 2004), the author argues that social care educators and practitioners need to debate the issues raised and develop emancipatory practices.
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    Emotional labour in harm-reduction practice in Ireland : an exploratory study
    (Social Care Ireland, 2014) Fabianowska, Joanna; Hanlon, Niall
    Arlie Russell Hochschild’s concept of emotional labour has been applied extensively in the analysis of the emotional, relational and identity processes in a wide variety of service occupations, and to a lesser extent to caring occupations where the central goal is nurturing. It has featured infrequently in social care in general and has not featured significantly in academic debates in Ireland. The paper is based on a small qualitative study of social care workers in harm reduction [HR] day services in the Dublin region. The aim of the research study was to explore how emotional labour impacts on workers employed in day harm reduction services. The paper highlights the centrality of emotional labour in negotiating and managing a sense of professionalism and personal space within a highly stressful area of social care. The workers’ emotional labour involved a process of embodying professionalism, an empathic alertness in their relations with service users, emotional distancing from traumatic experiences, and developing caring spaces in personal and professional life. By considering the emotional labour of care workers, we can better understand the construction of identity within particular contexts. The research raises questions about the status of Harm Reduction and other emotional workers, the sufficiency of the knowledge base for practitioners, and important issues about how to develop and organise caring workplaces.