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Issues » 2013/2 - School Social Work »

Miroslava Janoušková

“Under Three Pressures“: The Power in the Social Worker–Client Relationship


Postmodern approaches in social work emphasize the fact that excercising of power is inseparably connected to social work. The article is a contribution to the broader discussion about the role and meaning of power in social work practice. The aim of this text is to comprehend the power relation between social worker and the client and to emphasize the issue of power in social work and the necessity of its reflection by social workers. The argument focuses on exploration of goals of social workers, power instruments that they use and rationalizations that social workers use to legitimize their goals and instruments. Bourdieus concept of symbolic power and Foucaults concepts of normalization, pastoral power and power/knowledge represent theoretical basis of the text. The article has a theoretical-empirical character. Empirical data had been collected in organizations that provide social services for children and youth.


power, symbolic power, power/knowledge, normalization, legitimization

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