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Constructing the identities of `responsible mothers, invisible men` in child protection practice

D`Cruz, Heather 2002, Constructing the identities of `responsible mothers, invisible men` in child protection practice, Sociological research online, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-20.

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Title Constructing the identities of `responsible mothers, invisible men` in child protection practice
Author(s) D`Cruz, Heather
Journal name Sociological research online
Volume number 7
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 20
Publisher Sociological Research Online
Place of publication Guilford, England
Publication date 2002-05-31
ISSN 1360-7804
Keyword(s) child maltreatment
child protection
gender and child maltreatment
professional knowledge
responsibility for maltreatment
social constructionism
Summary Social constructionism offers valuable insights into the study of social problems for example, poverty, homelessness, crime and delinquency, including how social phenomena 'become' social problems, through social processes of interaction and interpretation. The social construction of child maltreatment has recently emerged as a site of scholarly inquiry and critique. This paper explores through three case studies how 'responsibility for child maltreatment' is constructed in child protection practice, with a specific focus on how 'responsibility' may also be gendered. In particular, how is gender associated with responsibility, such that the identity-pair, 'responsible mothers, invisible men', is a highly likely outcome as claimed in feminist literature? What other assumptions about 'identities of risk' or 'dangerousness' articulate with patriarchy and influence how responsibility is constructed? The case studies explore normally invisible processes by which social categories become 'fact', 'knowledge' and 'truth'. Furthermore, the social construction of 'responsibility for child maltreatment' is extended by a reflexive analysis of my own constructionist practices, as researcher/writer in claims making. The analysis offers an insight into the dynamic and dialectical relationship between professional and organisational knowledge and practice, allowing for a critique of knowledge itself, the basis for the claims made and possible alternative ways of knowing.
Language eng
Field of Research 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002, Sociological Research Online
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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