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  • 1.
    Blom, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Carpholt, Camilla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Krull, Ivy
    School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, Boston, USA.
    Outline of a theory of stigmatization in social work practice2022In: Nationell paperkonferens i socialt arbete (NaPSa): Linnéuniversitetet, Växjö, 16 - 17 mars 2022. Book of abstracts., 2022, article id 3158Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Stigma is a theoretical concept widely used in different disciplines. Yet, previous theoretical outlooks on stigma have been fairly general. This means that existing stigma theory can be used in different settings, but it does not always provide sufficiently specific explanations. We argue that it is possible to develop a more specific theory of stigma. 

    Our paper will outline a theory that describes and explains stigmatization processes in social work practice.This effort emanates from previous research experiences when we conducted an empirical study of stigmatization processes in social work in Sweden and the United States. The paper will focus on two questions:

    • Which theoretical propositions must be included in a theory able to describe and explain stigmatization processes in social work practice?

    • How should these theoretical propositions be transformed into a graphic model in order to illustrate the dynamics of stigmatization processes in social work practice?

    We will present a stepwise description of our work to outline a theory of stigmatization processes in social work practice. The building blocks of this theory originate from existing theories and previous empirical research, including our own study of stigmatization processes among social workers. The paper will therefore include parts of our empirical study of social workers in Sweden and the USA (Carpholt, Blom & Krull, 2021). The outline is presented as theoretical propositions and as a graphic model.

    Finally, we discuss contributions to existing theory and potential implications for policy and practice, especially in relation to social work in the social services. 

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  • 2.
    Blom, Björn
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Carpholt, Camilla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Krull, Ivy
    School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, Boston, MA, USA.
    Outline of a theory of stigmatization in the personal social services2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents an outline of a theory of stigmatization, consisting of theoretical propositions and a graphic model, which can help describe and explain stigmatization processes in the personal social services. The building blocks of the theory originate from existing theories and previous empirical research including our own study of stigmatization processes among social workers in Sweden and the United States. Pattern matching methodology was key to identifying a need for a new theory. Contributions to existing theory and potential implications for policy and practice are discussed, especially in relation to social work in the personal social services. The outlined theory contributes to existing stigma theory in several ways, of which three key findings are highlighted. The theory suggests: 1) that stigmatization processes can go in several directions, sometimes simultaneously; 2) that stigmatization processes can involve mutual reinforcement which can develop into a negative spiral; 3) that stigma can be placed upon social work as an institution. The outlined theory can be used as a starting point for analysing stigmatization processes in social work in several contexts, such as different institutional or organizational settings. We argue that existing stigma theory does not always provide sufficiently deep or specific explanations that are appropriate for the uniqueness of different settings. Thus, there is a need for a theory that is more precise and adapted to such a setting. The framework can be useful for researchers and university students that need a theory when studying stigma processes in social work practice. 

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    fulltext
  • 3.
    Carpholt, Camilla
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Krull, Ivy
    School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, USA.
    Blom, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Stigmatization Processes in Social Work: a comparative study of social workers in the social services in Sweden and the United States2021Conference paper (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.

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    fulltext
  • 4.
    Krull, Ivy
    et al.
    School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Emmanuel College, Boston, USA.
    Carpholt, Camilla
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Blom, Björn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Stigma for social workers in Sweden and U.S.2023Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    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. 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.

    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.

    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. 

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