Mind the gaps: Understanding the rise and implications of different types of cynicism within statutory social work

Malcolm Carey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper explores the notable rise of cynicism among state social workers in Britain. Theoretically, cynicism has been viewed as 'deviant emotion' and pathology or as offering a type of employee resistance that may protect or support a person's identity. Drawing upon case study research with practising social workers, the article looks at three different case examples of employee cynicism. These include the cynic as organisational survivor, disenfranchised sceptic or altruist. It was found that, although cynicism within social work predominately emerges as an emotional response to structural change, other factors such as those embodied within professional discourses and government or academic rhetoric can also impact. Other factors such as risk-averse assumptions that distance the practitioner from the 'service user' or colleagues can also have influence. Although often viewed negatively, cynicism can greatly benefit an organisation or motivate a practitioner to challenge normative principles and promote the needs of service users and carers. © 2012 © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-144
    Number of pages17
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
    Volume44
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

    Keywords

    • Cynicism
    • deviant emotion
    • resistance
    • rhetoric

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Mind the gaps: Understanding the rise and implications of different types of cynicism within statutory social work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this