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Issues » 2014/5 - Special English Issue 2014 »

Malcolm Payne

Reading Social Work


This paper proposes the value of conceptualising as ‘reading’ social work interpersonal actions and written documents, since ‘reading’ as developed in cultural and media studies, literary criticisms and homilectics provides a technology for interpretation of both surface and hidden events and texts, potentially providing opportunities for empirical analysis of alternative understandings of social work. Media of communication, representation, structure, audiences and authors and politics of interaction may all be considered, and exploring source and structural awareness in readers, concept recognition, difference awareness and link awareness together with concern for phonology, semantics, grammar and pragmatics provide a technology for analysis. Discussion of a social work record, a higher education assessment in social work and paragraphs in two social work academic texts exemplify some of the possibilities.


assessment, communication, discourse, documentation, reading, representation, research, social work

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