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Stigmatization Processes in Social Work: a comparative study of social workers in the social services in Sweden and the United States
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, USA.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5867-234X
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: This paper investigates how social workers within the social services, in different welfare regimes, comprehend social stigma. This is important since stigmatized social workers can affect clients and the social work negatively, i.e. poorer quality of interventions and poorer quality of results.

Theory and method: Two types of theory was used: social stigma, and Esping-Andersen’s typology of welfare regimes. Sweden and the United States was studied, since they represent opposite types of welfare regimes: Social Democratic (Sweden) and US (Liberal). Comparison of social stigma among social workers in two welfare regimes enabled us to study how values, social policies and institutions influenced stigmatization processes.

Data was collected through focus group interviews: three in Sweden and three in the United States. Data were analyzed with a conventional content analysis.

Findings: Results show significant differences between Sweden and US regarding: 1) how social workers experience that society views social work, 2) what society’s view of social work mean for social workers’ self-perception, 3) how social workers experience that society views the social service clients, 4) what society’s view of clients mean for social workers’ client work. Differences are mainly due to dissimilarities between the various welfare regimes, where stigma is an inherent part of the liberal welfare regime.

Conclusion: For social workers to be able to promote dignity and worth of people, they themselves must experience dignity and worth in their professional role. A fundamental prerequisite for this is welfare systems’ recognition of the importance of trusting human relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
social stigma, social worker, social services, focus groups, welfare regimes
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-189502OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-189502DiVA, id: diva2:1611273
Conference
Forsa/NASSW Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland 11-12 November 2021. Online conference
Part of project
Substance abuse research in welfare states with different social work cultures, Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016-07281Available from: 2021-11-14 Created: 2021-11-14 Last updated: 2021-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Carpholt, CamillaBlom, Björn

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf