PERCEPTIONS OF POVERTY: Exploring the attitudes of Sheffield Hallam University Social Work students to service-user poverty

JOUBERT, Marelize and SMITH, Kiri (2021). PERCEPTIONS OF POVERTY: Exploring the attitudes of Sheffield Hallam University Social Work students to service-user poverty. International Journal of Arts, Humanities & Social Science, 2 (2), 8-13.

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    Abstract

    An understanding of poverty and its impact on service-users is essential for social workers to be able to act in an empowering, anti-oppressive way. Our actions are often influenced by our attitudes. This qualitative study aims to identify the attitudes and causal attributions of poverty amongst social work students to provide a baseline indicator that might inform poverty education within SHU‟s social work courses. To date, no UK investigations of this nature have been undertaken recently, leaving us with a profound lack of understanding of the knowledge and attitudes of student social workers toward poverty and its impact on people in the UK. The study design is multi-method, incorporating two data sources: an on-line questionnaire (43 responses) and individual telephone interviews (6). Findings revealed that students enrolled on a BA Social Work degree were generally compassionate towards those experiencing poverty. They preferred structural causal explanations rather than individual; students also strongly held the government responsible and saw poverty as something impacted by political choices. However, poverty was understood to be absolute rather than relatively defined and a trend towards dissociating from and „othering‟ those in poverty was discerned. The study recommends the inclusion of povertyawareness in the values and ethics element of social work courses, to enable it to be incorporated into students‟ anti-oppressive practice.

    Item Type: Article
    Page Range: 8-13
    SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
    Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
    Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2021 13:31
    Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 14:15
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28574

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