An exploration into the portrayal of social work in the media and its implications for public confidence in child protection services
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Public confidence in social work allows the profession to strive. Much research has been conducted regarding the phenomena of socially constructed language within the British media, yet the taboo subject of social work is often neglected. The social construction of language is likely to have a profound impact when used in media presentation. Therefore, using a discourse analysis to explore media discourse offers great insight towards the ever-changing public attitude towards the social work profession. The death of Peter Connelly in 2007 evoked considerable media attention. A campaign fuelled by the British press held the social workers involved accountable for the death of the toddler. Six articles from a variety of British newspapers were selected and analysed following adaptations of Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis framework. The analysis explores the construction of language within the newspaper articles, and identifies reoccurring themes which are likely to impact public confidence towards the profession. Four key themes were identified from the study and their potential impact explored. This research contributes towards the growing literature regarding the public’s response towards social work and aims to provide insight into how media discourse can influence confidence towards the social work profession.
BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care
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