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Caring power : coercion as care

Svensson, Kerstin LU (2002) In Outlines: Critical Social Studies
Abstract
The article analyses the compulsory care of drug misusers in Sweden. An historical analysis of this field of work as a part of the Swedish welfare state highlights historically changing legislations, institutions, understandings and practices. Following Foucault, it is argued that it is impossible to distinguish between power and care and that confusion about coercive care is a result of not acknowledging power. Empirical studies of current social work point to the significance of different institutional settings. The author’s study of the Swedish probation service shows that social workers and clients may adopt different positions in relation to each other and that their experiences of the practice of social work depend on the congruence... (More)
The article analyses the compulsory care of drug misusers in Sweden. An historical analysis of this field of work as a part of the Swedish welfare state highlights historically changing legislations, institutions, understandings and practices. Following Foucault, it is argued that it is impossible to distinguish between power and care and that confusion about coercive care is a result of not acknowledging power. Empirical studies of current social work point to the significance of different institutional settings. The author’s study of the Swedish probation service shows that social workers and clients may adopt different positions in relation to each other and that their experiences of the practice of social work depend on the congruence or disparity between these positions. The problematic role of motivation in coercive care is highlighted. While some scholars claim that motivation is not possible in coercive institutions, the author relates motivation to the caring power arguing that social work is always aimed at normality and that care is exercised to achieve normality. The promise of an improved life situation may make people in need of help adapt to the demands of the helper, and the caring power can be seen as a way to provide help for individuals who do not realize that they are in need of care. (Less)
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Contribution to journal
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Outlines: Critical Social Studies
issue
2
publisher
Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen
ISSN
1399-5510
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
08a4d91c-f574-4144-a64d-f069f0f256cb (old id 149767)
alternative location
http://www.outlines.dk/contents/Contents.html#Outlines02:2
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 16:10:22
date last changed
2016-04-16 05:27:23
@article{08a4d91c-f574-4144-a64d-f069f0f256cb,
  abstract     = {The article analyses the compulsory care of drug misusers in Sweden. An historical analysis of this field of work as a part of the Swedish welfare state highlights historically changing legislations, institutions, understandings and practices. Following Foucault, it is argued that it is impossible to distinguish between power and care and that confusion about coercive care is a result of not acknowledging power. Empirical studies of current social work point to the significance of different institutional settings. The author’s study of the Swedish probation service shows that social workers and clients may adopt different positions in relation to each other and that their experiences of the practice of social work depend on the congruence or disparity between these positions. The problematic role of motivation in coercive care is highlighted. While some scholars claim that motivation is not possible in coercive institutions, the author relates motivation to the caring power arguing that social work is always aimed at normality and that care is exercised to achieve normality. The promise of an improved life situation may make people in need of help adapt to the demands of the helper, and the caring power can be seen as a way to provide help for individuals who do not realize that they are in need of care.},
  author       = {Svensson, Kerstin},
  issn         = {1399-5510},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  publisher    = {Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen},
  series       = {Outlines: Critical Social Studies},
  title        = {Caring power : coercion as care},
  year         = {2002},
}