Educational Discourses in Social Work
Authors: Jitka Navrátilová, Pavel Navrátil
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An expert discussion about the nature of identity in social work has been led in the Czech Republic for more than
a quarter century. This debate did not bring a definite shift in the understanding of what social work is, nor did it bring a shared stance on what its domain should be (Chytil, 2007; Navrátil
& Navrátilová, 2008; Matulayová & Musil, 2013; Punová
& Navrátilová, 2014). However, if there is any consensus on the identity of social work, it refers to the fact that social work is a socially constructed field (Navrátil, 1998, 2013a) and therefore also multiparadigmatic or discursively open. If it is difficult or impossible to capture sectoral identity with a clear and final definition, sectoral identity can be seen in a pluralistic way through discourses. This paper is built on the premise that one of the most important factors influencing a sectoral understanding of sectoral identity is university education, which is one of the key social institutions that influence or even shape social discursive space (Etzkowitz & Dzisah, 2012). In the paper we present the most influential contemporary discourses, which are applied in the education of social workers, and answer the question: What assumptions about the performance of social work and more generally the concept of sectoral identity are implied by the selected discourses of education in social work? Particular among these discourses is a socio-pedagogical perspective we compare these other discourses with and show what values are crucial for each of the different discourses and how they can enrich social work as a discipline. We proceed from the extensive overview of Czech, Slovak and English-language scientific literature, published in regard to the problem o educating social workers in the past twenty years.