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Social work, politics and societyFrom radicalism to orthodoxy$
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Kenneth McLaughlin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420459

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420459.001.0001

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The subject of stress

The subject of stress

(p.100) (p.101) Six The subject of stress
Social work, politics and society

Kenneth McLaughlin

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the subject of stress and views it as a discursive construct rooted in changing sociopolitical conditions. It examines the influence of this discourse on social work, not only at the level of direct social work input but at an academic and institutional level whereby interpretations of, and reactions to, a wide variety of personal, social and work-related situations are formed and mediated. It links the rise of pathological diagnoses, categorisations of abuse and the concept of the ‘at risk’ individual to ‘stress’. It also discusses stress in the social services and looks at major causes of stress including bullying, harassment and violence. It argues that a construction of the subject as vulnerable, as more object than subject is evident, and that interpersonal and work relationships are increasingly portrayed as being detrimental to our health and safety.

Keywords:   social work, stress, abuse, pathological diagnoses, social services, bullying, violence, harassment

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