Informed outrage: tackling shame and stigma in poverty education in social work
Beddoe, Liz; Keddell, Emily
The experience of poverty as shameful is felt by some people living in poverty due to the internalisation of stigmatising neo-liberal discourses which construe poverty as the consequence of individual failings of effort, competence or morality. A critical response requires an analysis of poverty as primarily caused by structural factors, as without this critical perspective, social workers can become complicit with a responsibilisation agenda based on stigma. Many social work students were raised in the neo-liberal era where the post-war consensus on welfare had diminished and thus may be blind to the assumptions embedded in current discourse about people in poverty. Increasing inequalities in many western countries may mean infrequent contact between people from different class backgrounds and exposure to the realities of poverty. To address the potential risk of social workers reinforcing poverty stigma we propose teaching which explicitly addresses the discrepancies between a structural analysis of poverty and current individualistic discourses that produce stigma. Suggested methods include using complex case studies, and bringing service user voices into the classroom, and the use of the arts, alongside exploring how moral panics are created by regimes of shame, surveillance and control which underpin welfare policy.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Keywords: Poverty; stigma; discourse; social work education; social justice; shame
Research Type: Journal Article
The following licence files are associated with this item: