Social Work in Film, Television and the Media

This SWIFTM Special Interest Group seeks to explore arguments posited by Dyer (1993) and Hall (1997) that media representations of groups or issues significantly impacts on how these are viewed in wider society.

Although, social work has been described as society’s safety net (Moynihan, 2012), social workers have been routinely vilified in sections of the national press (Brody, 2009) and frequently characterised negatively in the media generally as either lazy incompetent bureaucrats, who are culpable in most welfare cases where things go wrong or, at best, well-meaning do-gooders. Such representations serve to encourage and reinforce increasingly hostile and negative impressions of social workers and endorse particular neo-liberal ideologies and discourses about welfare, family life and communities (Carey and Foster, 2012). They also reflect, endorse and reinforce judgements about service users, and carers which demonise and stigmatise those who are vulnerable or in need.

This Special Interest Group seeks to transgress traditional academic disciplines and national boundaries, identifying local, regional and international responses to current representations and discourses of social work and welfare, poverty and need.

Aims of the Special Interest Group

- Identify, explore, evaluate and compare international portrayals and representations of social work in film, television and the media
- Develop innovative and shared approaches to analysing social work in film, television and media.
- Inform, synthesise and critically analyse contemporary global narratives and discourses about social work, welfare and need; informing international debates about the purpose and future of social work and welfare provision.
- Establish a platform to present and share knowledge and learning which contributes to a better understanding of the purpose of social work and the advancement of social justice and community wellbeing

The Convenors of this SIG are

Ass. Prof. Jannike Vik (NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim) 

Prof. Dr Emilio José Gómez Ciriano (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha).