Unaccompanied young females and social workers: meaning-making in the practice space

Larkin, Rachel and Lefevre, Michelle (2020) Unaccompanied young females and social workers: meaning-making in the practice space. British Journal of Social Work, 50 (5). pp. 1570-1587. ISSN 0045-3102

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This article considers the role and importance of the intersubjective practice space created between social workers and unaccompanied young females (UYFs) – girls and young women under 18 years of age, who arrive in a country not in the care of a parent or guardian, and claim asylum in their own right. The voices of UYFs are under-represented in the literature and there is very little research which considers social work with this marginalised group. Through a study of how UYFs and practitioners in England experienced and constructed each other during their everyday practice encounters, we discuss the potential of the practice space for creating mutual understandings and enabling positive changes. Analysis revealed that their subjective and affective experience of their encounters and of each other, both as individual humans and as representations of particular categories (asylum-seeker/looked-after child and professional helper/agent of the state), influenced how they engaged, communicated, co-constructed understandings of each other, and viewed the process and outcomes of the social work contact. We argue for the importance of practice encounter spaces, their distinctiveness from what is written in policy and law, and their potential as a site for creativity and change.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2020 08:13
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89506

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