Quilting Professional Stories: A Gendered Experience of Choosing Social Work as a Career

Mensinga, Jo (2010) Quilting Professional Stories: A Gendered Experience of Choosing Social Work as a Career. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken, Germany.

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Abstract

The literature and research investigating why people choose social work as a career has tended to focus on motivational traits rather than on the choice experience itself. Whereas the vocational sector has moved to include a focus on the narrative processes involved with selecting a career, much of the social work research fails to capture the meaning-making processes individuals engage in to make sense of their career choices within their personal and social contexts. This research project describes the meaning-making processes two students participating in the social work program at Central Queensland University and I employ to understand our career choice experiences. Over a period of four years, using a research approach that combines Clandinin and Connelly’s (2000) narrative inquiry with Riessman’s (2003) emphasis on social positioning within narratives, Geraldine, John and I explore the interplay between individual, community and professional agendas in our past, present and imagined career choice experiences – particularly focusing on the impact of gender. Identifying the importance of caring as a hallmark of the profession and what draws us to social work, this co-constructed research text highlights the agendas that predominantly support women’s entrance into the profession and challenge men’s participation. Drawing on the metaphor of a quilt to describe our career choice experience, this project draws attention to the importance for aspiring social workers to carefully choose, cut and join together bits of gendered narrative material to create a professional story that both legitimises their entrance into the profession and to position them within the larger career sector.

Item ID: 15616
Item Type: Book (Research - A1)
Keywords: social work, career choice, gender
ISBN: 978-3-639-21153-5
Date Deposited: 09 May 2011 01:05
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940502 Professions and Professionalisation @ 50%
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