Clown-based Social Work as Dissent in Child Protection Practice

Article


Steggall, David and Scollen, Rebecca. 2024. "Clown-based Social Work as Dissent in Child Protection Practice." The British Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcae023
Article Title

Clown-based Social Work as Dissent in Child Protection Practice

ERA Journal ID34193
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsSteggall, David and Scollen, Rebecca
Journal TitleThe British Journal of Social Work
Number of Pages18
Year2024
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0045-3102
1468-263X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcae023
Web Address (URL)https://academic.oup.com/bjsw/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/bjsw/bcae023/7631803?utm_source=advanceaccess&utm_campaign=bjsw&utm_medium=email
Abstract

This article presents Clown-Based Social Work (Steggall, 2023) as a form of dissent consistent with Paul Michael Garrett’s (2021a)conceptualisation of Dissenting Social Work. It contributes to the debate sparked by Chris Maylea (2020)and continued by Paul Michael Garrett (2021b)and Joe Whelan (2022). Clown-Based Social Work is an outcome of Steggall’s, doctoral research findings. Clown theory is a relational practice that offers an alternative way of being with people in an impossible situation. Correlations between Clown Theory and Social Work Theory were observed and explored. These correlations were conceptualised into Clown-Based Social Work as a new approach to child protection practice. Three key concepts of Clown-Based Social Work are discussed as forms of dissent from established ways of knowing and normative familial ideals in child protection work: Failure, Stupidity and Play. These three concepts are explored as relational practices that can enact dialogue between service users and social workers. This discussion is both a response to what Maylea (2020)has called the contemporary failures of social work and to Garrett’s (2021a, p. 226) call for dissenting imbued perspectives in social work practice.

Keywordschild protection practice, Clown-Based Social Work, dissenting social work, failure
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360499. Performing arts not elsewhere classified
440999. Social work not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Psychology and Wellbeing
School of Creative Arts
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