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Speaking Bodies – Silenced Voices: Children’s Embodied Vulnerabilities and the Moral Economies of Child Welfare
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0205-5326
2018 (English)In: Social Work and Solidarity: In Search of New Paradigms / [ed] TISSA, The International Social Work & Society Academy, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Whether on the basis of embodied categories such as race or gender, or through diagnoses and suffering bodies, the body is said to constitute the political battleground for social in- and exclusion. This study is inspired methodologically by moral anthropological approaches and draws on scholarship that foregrounds the pivotal role of the body for political recognition and rights claims in humanitarian and other ‘moral’ interventions. I examine two analytically separated moral economies, the moral economy of care versus justice, as they manifest in child welfare responses to bodily vulnerability. A sample of investigations from a Swedish municipality, all addressing violations of children’s bodies or integrity, are used as empirical material. The article shows the objectified psychosomatically damaged bodies being best ‘heard’ as vulnerable. I argue that in such a moral economy of care, children’s accounts of racial and gendered injustices are silenced. Furthermore, a differentiation in the moralities mobilised when different child bodies are addressed suggests that a version of a moral economy of justice, i.e. a juridical moral response, is being used in unjust ways that reproduce racialized othering while leaving institutional racism without response. While central for a critical social work, equality, social justice and rights issues are downplayed in assessments, and largely lack corresponding welfare measures. A concluding remark is a need of a radical shift within social policy towards structural power perspectives which would not only require a re-thinking of vulnerability but also the role of child welfare itself and its individualised services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
moral economy; child welfare; body; critical social work; othering, violence
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40572OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40572DiVA, id: diva2:1244973
Conference
16th Annual Plenum Social Work and Solidarity: In Search of New Paradigms Ljubljana, Slovenia, August 19-22, 2018
Available from: 2018-09-03 Created: 2018-09-03 Last updated: 2019-09-13Bibliographically approved

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Knezevic, Zlatana

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf