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17-03-2020

Social Work and Fiction

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Social Work and Fiction
Social Work and Fiction

The activity of social workers is severely constrained. Whether we think of the legal framework that structures their work, of the institutional directives to which they are subject, of the reality of the labour market or of increasingly complex situations of clients, their leeway for manoeuvre seems to be shrinking to virtually nothing. However, they accompany, help, advise and guide their users on the road to reintegration. Though their action is limited, they are nonetheless acting. This is the central paradox that motivated this research, the enigma to be solved. How do social workers work if the conditions of their action are beyond their control ? 

The conceptual tools usually used in sociological research will make room in their ranks for a concept that is rather familiar from the literary sphere: fiction - and this concept will shed real light on our enigma. For it is through the mediation of a fiction - by creating a fictional space - that the social worker will make it possible for the user to take action.

The first part of this book will therefore aim to justify the use of this tool and to grasp all its dimensions and their implications for the analysis of the relationship between social worker and user, in the context of financial social assistance in a Swiss canton. The second will in a way put the concept to the test, since it is through the story - the fiction - of David & Grégoire that we will continue to solve our enigma…

Elisa Favre, collaboratrice scientifique HES, Le travail social et la fiction - la relation entre assistant.e sociale.e et bénéficiaire de l'aide sociale financière en Suisse