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Dressing the part? The significance of dress in social work

Scholar, HF 2013, 'Dressing the part? The significance of dress in social work' , Social Work Education : The International Journal, 32 (3) , pp. 365-379.

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Abstract

This paper explores practice educators’ views about the significance of dress for social work in the context of UK social work education. The findings, drawn from three focus group discussions, suggest that practice educators regard dress as an important way in which social workers demonstrate values in action. Dress is also seen to play a part in the development and maintenance of a professional social work identity, and is relevant to the physical and bodily experiences of ‘doing’ social work. Social workers should be aware of the significance of dress and self-presentation, and where student social workers fail to demonstrate such awareness, practice educators may have questions about their understanding of the complexity of practice. The paper notes that while participants expressed similar views about the meaning and impact of dress, these are based on the observation and experience of practice, and there is little research evidence specifically concerning dress in social work. The study contributes to an understanding of why practice educators consider that dress may be relevant in the assessment of a student’s practice readiness, and suggests areas for further research about this everyday yet significant aspect of a social worker’s working life.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Social Work Education : The International Journal
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0261-5479
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: HF Scholar
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 17:41
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2015 17:41
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/34682

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