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Auto-Ethnography as Reflexive Inquiry: The Research Act as Self-Surveillance

Sue White

We've got a little girl of nine. It's quite difficult, this rejection. It's not the same rejection as other families. What they are rejecting is a child … who they feel very guilty about bringing into the world and they would actually say, when they really get distraught, things like, ‘really if she died it would be better for everyone concerned’, and the father saying, ‘well let's put it this way, if there was a shipwreck, I would save my wife and sons’. (Team Leader, Children and Families Team) Social workers are very accustomed to providing accounts of their actions. For example, they may have to justify their decisions to the courts, to other professionals, to ‘consumers’ of services, or may be questioned as part of the audit activity which is increasingly a feature of welfare organizations in the UK and elsewhere. In the extract above, a team leader, working ...

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