Social construction addresses the cultural factors and social dynamics that give rise to and maintain values and beliefs. Drawing on postmodern philosophies and critical, social, and literary theories, social construction has become an important and influential framework for practice and research within social work and related fields. Embracing inclusivity and multiplicity, social construction provides a framework for knowledge and practice that is particularly congruent with social work values and aims. In this accessible collection, Stanley L Witkin showcases the innovative ways in which social construction may be understood and expressed in practice. He calls on experienced practitioner-scholars to share their personal accounts of interpreting and applying social constructionist ideas in different settings (such as child welfare agencies, schools, and the courts) and with diverse clientele (such as "resistant" adolescents, disadvantaged families, indigenous populations, teachers, children in protective custody, refugee youth, and adult perpetrators of sexual crimes against children).
Eschewing the prescriptive stance of most theoretical frameworks, social construction can seem challenging for students and practitioners. This book responds with rich, illustrative descriptions of how social constructionist thinking has inspired practice approaches, illuminating the diversity and creative potential of practices that draw on social constructionist ideas. Writing in a direct, accessible style, contributors translate complex concepts into the language of daily encounter and care, and through a committed transnational focus they demonstrate the global reach and utility of their work. Chapters are provocative and thoughtful, reveal great suffering and courage, share inspiring stories of strength and renewal, and acknowledge the challenges of an approach that complicates evidence-based evaluations and requirements.
Stanley L Witkin is a professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Vermont and president of the Global Partnership for Transformative Social Work (www.gptsw.net). He is the former editor-in-chief of Social Work and a Fulbright scholar. Professor Witkin holds MSSW. and Ph.D. degrees in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an honorary doctoral degree in social sciences from the University of Lapland in Finland.
Foreword, by W. David Harrison Preface 1. Autoethnography: The Opening Act, by Stanley L Witkin 2. Where's Beebee? The Orphan Crisis in Global Child Welfare, by Katherine Tyson McCrea 3. A Finn in India: From Cultural Encounters to Global Imagining, by Satu Ranta-Tyrkko 4. Being of Two Minds: Creating My Racialized Selves, by Noriko Ishibashi Martinez 5. Learning From and Researching (My Own) Experience: A Critical Reflection on the Experience of Social Difference, by Jan Fook 6. What Remains? Heroic Stories in Trace Materials, by Karen M. Staller 7. What Matters Most in Living and Dying: Pressing Through Detection, Trying to Connect, by Brenda Solomon 8. Will You Be with Me to the End? Personal Experiences of Cancer and Death, by Johanna Hefel 9. Holding on While Letting Go: An Autoethnographic Study of Divorce in Ireland, by Orlagh Farrell Delaney and Patricia Kennedy 10. The Pretty Girl in the Mirror: A Gender Transient's Tale, by Allan Irving 11. Reality Isn't What It Used to Be: An Inquiry of Transformative Change, by Stanley L Witkin 12. From Advising to Mentoring to Becoming Colleagues: An Autoethnography of a Growing Professional Relationship in Social Work Education, by Zvi Eisikovits and Chaya Koren List of Contributors Index