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The Emotional Dog and its Rational ‘Tale’? Nurturing Wisdom and Humaneness in Professional Practice. Sue White Professor in Social Work University of Lancaster. Practically Popper? Formal Knowledge and Professional Practice.
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Professor in Social Work
University of Lancaster
Is this the case? Surprises from ethnographic research…
(Damasio, 1994: xiv-xv)
Social Intuitionist Model -Moral reasoning follows moral judgement (Haidt)
e.g. abortion is wrong – life begins at conception NOT life begins at conception therefore abortion is wrong
TLI know, I know..... There are four children in the family and there’s been a marital dispute, mother left and dad said the children had made allegations which sound a bit over the top so that’s one that may be coming back to us I suspect, but at the moment we’re trying to deal with it very clearly as a one off and getting them to get legal advice.
At least 3 potential problems:
…theories help to organize what we know. Theories also provide an economy of effort. They allow conceptual short-cuts to be taken. If the theory is powerful one, it might only take a few observations to locate a particular phenomenon as an example of a class of objects or behaviours…. Hypotheses help to guide future observations, the results of which aid practitioners in further testing and refining their initial assessments and observations (Howe et al, 1999 p. 228)
Result: An intoxicating concoction rendering us dizzy and drunk on our own convictions
The cocktail is all the more sweet and heady when supped in the company of like-minded friends!
When transcripts of talk and similar materials are looked at in detail, it becomes possible to render explicit taken-for-granted aspects of professional moral orders. In so doing, the so-called tacit dimension is opened up for scrutiny and debate by professionals themselves.
Temporal dimension to teams – shift away from generic, locality-based work
CRM - e-Government
28.11.2007- telephone call to Felicity French to confirm that I will meet with her at 10am tomorrow. Felicity French a bit cagey - said that she needed to let me know what was going on in the Referral and Assessment Team. She said that they had all been called into a meeting that morning with the manager. The manager, Deborah Davies was very annoyed and giving them all a bit of a ‘dressing down’ about the state of affairs in the team. They have missed the performance indicator this week for the % of Initial Assessments being done within 7 days and missed it by a lot. There’s no way of recouping the situation, once the % has been recorded. Deborah Davies is very annoyed, she has been on sick leave herself for two weeks and has come back to find that workers have been slacking behind her back. Felicity French added, that the problem is that part of Deborah’s annoyance is directed at ‘inappropriate chatting’ ... ‘social chatting’ and people not getting on with the job and that this included ‘chatting with Jane Jackson the researcher’.
Affective judgements based on group norms are seldom questioned!
e.g. Three children, Mo has a recent partner who is violent - children have witnessed scenes of DV- 8 year old says 'I love my mummy and do not want to go into care' - social worker and team leader are pushing for the 'iron fist'- reason- mum failing to follow through with advice to prosecute partner and take an injunction.
Rationale: 'iron fist' better than facing a serious case review/child death – ‘baby in the canal’ worker described the impact of 'taking a chance'- mother drunk dropped baby in canal – was not predicted and the grandmother was 'trusted' not to let anything serious happen - passer by rescued baby
What is to be done?
‘BRING ON THE NOISE!’