Pressure drop: Securitising and de-securitising safeguarding

David McKendrick, Jo Finch

Abstract


INTRODUCTION: This article explores how securitisation theory is mobilised in contemporary social work discourse, policy and practice. We draw on recent child protection research to support our claim that a new practice issue, described previously as securitised safeguarding, has emerged.

APPROACH: We demonstrate its emergence using securitisation theory as a conceptual mode of analysis to describe how a securitised safeguarding response depicts particular families as an existential threat which, in turn, prompts a response characterised by forms of muscular liberalism.

CONCLUSIONS: We argue that this emerging practice issue requires critical consideration and suggest it will have a significant impact on social work – one that is unlikely to be beneficial for the profession and, more importantly, families being worked with. By describing a process of de-securitisation, we offer an alternative and more nuanced approach that perceives families holistically, and mobilises a welfare safeguarding model. This more closely resembles traditional social work values of emancipation, liberation and empowerment within social work practice.


Keywords


Securitisation theory; safeguarding; discourse; social work; de-securitisation

Full Text:

PDF

References


Balzacq, T. (2005). The three faces of securitization: Political agency, audience and context. European Journal of International Relations, 11(2), 171–201.

Bilson, A., Cant, R., Harries, M., & Thorpe, D. M. (2013). A longitudinal study of children reported to the Child Protection Department in Western Australia. The British Journal of Social Work, 45(3), 771–791.

Bilson, A. (2016). One in every five children in England referred to children’s services before the age of five. Retrieved from https://www.uclan.ac.uk/ news/childrens-services-uclan-study.php

Bilson, A., & Martin, K. (2016). Referrals and child protection in England: One in five children referred to children’s services and one in nineteen investigated before the age of five. British Journal of Social Work, 47(3), 793–811.

Bilson, A., Featherstone, B., & Martin, K. (2017). How child protection’s “investigative turn” impacts on poor and deprived communities. Family Law, 47, 316–319.

Buzan, B., Waever, O., & Wilde, J. (1998). Security. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Castel, R. (1991). From dangerousness to risk. In C. Burchill, C. Gordon, & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (pp. 281–298). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Cooper, A., & Lousada, J. (2005). Borderline welfare: Feeling and fear of feeling in modern welfare. London, UK: Karnac.

Corrigan, P., & Leonard, P. (1984). Social work practice under capitalism. Houndmills, UK: Macmillan.

Crossley, S. (2017). In their place – The imagined geographies of poverty. London, UK: Pluto Press.

Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the societies of control. October, 59, 3–7. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/778828seq=1#metadata_info_tab_ contents

Featherstone, B., Gupta, A., Morris, K., & Warner, J. (2016). Let’s stop feeding the risk monster: Towards a social model of “child protection”. Families, Relationships and Societies, 7(1), 7–22.

Ferguson, I., & Lavalette, M. (2017). After Grenfell Tower. Critical and Radical Social Work, 5(3), 265–267.

Finch, J., & McKendrick, D. (2019). Securitising social work: Counter terrorism, extremism and radicalisation. In S. Webb (Ed.), Routledge handbook of critical social work (pp. 244–255). London, UK: Routledge.

Foucault, M. (2009). Security, Territory, and Population. New York, NY: Picador.

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Home Office. (2018). Individuals referred to and supported through the PREVENT programme April 2016 to March 2018. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_ data/file/763254/individuals-referred-supported-prevent- programme-apr2017-mar2018-hosb3118.pdf

HM Government. (2012) CHANNEL: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism: A guide for local partnerships. Retrieved from www.gov.uk/government/ uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/118194/ channel-guidance.pdf

Jensen, T. (2014). Welfare commonsense, poverty porn and doxosophy. Sociological Research Online, 19(3), 3. http://www.socresonline.org.uk/19/3/3.html doi:10.5153/ sro.3441

Jensen, T. (2018). Parenting the crisis: The cultural politics of parent blame. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Lansley, S., & Mack, J. (2015). Breadline Britain – The rise of mass poverty. London, UK: Oneworld Books.

Leonard, P. (Ed.). (1975). The sociology of community action (Vol. 21), The Sociological Review Monographs. Keele, UK: University of Keele Press.

Maclean, S., & Harrison, R. (2011). Theory and practice: A straightforward guide for social work students. Staffordshire, UK: Kirwin Maclean Associates.

Massey, D. (2015). Vocabularies of the economy. In S. Hall, D. Massey, & M. Rustin (Eds.), After neoliberalism: The Kilburn Manifesto Project (pp. 3–16). London, UK: Lawrence and Wishart

McKendrick, D., & Finch, J. (2016). ‘Under heavy manners?’: Social work, radicalisation, troubled families and non- linear war. The British Journal of Social Work, 47(2), 308-324. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcv141

McKendrick, D., & Finch, J. (2017). “Downpressor man”: Securitisation, safeguarding and social work. Critical and Radical Social Work, 5(3), 287–300. doi:10.1332/204986 017X15029697482460

Meyer, J., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education [Issues in Teaching and Learning from a Student Learning Perspective: A Tribute to Noel Entwistle], 49(3), 373–388.

Morrison, T. (2006) Emotional intelligence, emotion and social work: Context, characteristics, complications and contribution. The British Journal of Social Work, 37(2), 245–263. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcl016.

Neocleous, M. (2007). Security, liberty and the myth of balance: Towards a critique of security politics. Contemporary Political Theory, 6(2), 131–149.

Nicholls, A. (2016). Sharon Shoesmith on Baby P, blame and social work’s climate of fear. Community Care [online]. Retrieved from http://www.communitycare. co.uk/2016/08/25/sharon-shoesmith-baby-p-blame- social-works-climate-fear/

Parton, N. (2006). Safeguarding children. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pitts, A. (2011). Policy shift: Towards enforcement in social welfare. In T. Okitikpi, (Ed.), Social control and the use of power in social work with children and families

(pp. 1–15). Lyme Regis, UK: Russell House Publishing.

Ragazzi, F. (2016). Countering terrorism and radicalisation: Securitising social policy? Critical Social Policy, 37(2), 163–179.

Rose, N., (2000). Government and control. British Journal of Criminology, 321–229.

Scottish Government. (n.d.). Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC). Retrieved from https://www.gov.scot/policies/ girfec/

Slater, T. (2012). The Myth of “Broken Britain”: Welfare reform and the production of ignorance. Antipode, A Radical Journal of Geography, 46(4), 948–969.

Tyler, I. (2013). Revolting subjects: Social abjection and resistance in neoliberal Britain. London, UK: Zed Books.

Waever, O. (1997). Concepts of security. Copenhagen, Denmark: University of Copenhagen, Institute of Political Science.

Warner, J. (2015). The emotional politics of social work and child protection. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Wastell, D., White, S., Broadhurst, K., Hall, C., Peckover, S., & Pithouse, A. (2010). Children’s services in the iron cage of performance management: Street level bureaucracy and the spectre of Švejkism. International Journal of Social Welfare, 19, 310–320.

Webb, S. A. (2006). Social work in a risk society: Social and political perspectives. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Webb, S. A. (2010). Theorising social well being: Subjective mental states, Preference satisfaction or Mitsien. In T. Lovat, R. Toomey, & N. Clement (Eds.), International research handbook on values education and student well-being (pp. 959-976). London, UK: Springer.

Wodak, R., & Boukala, S. (2014). Talking about solidarity and security in an age of crisis: The revival of nationalism and protectionism in the European Union – A discourse- historical approach. In C. Carta & J. Morin (Eds.), EU foreign policy through the lens of discourse analysis: Making sense of diversity (pp. 171–190). Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

Worsley, A., McLaughlin, K., & Leigh, J. T. (2017). A subject of concern: The experiences of social workers referred to the Health and Care Professions Council. British Journal of Social Work. 10.1093/bjsw/bcx005




DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol32iss1id706

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.