‘Connectivity’: Seeking conditions and connections for radical discourses and praxes in health, mental health and social work.
Social Theory & Health, 7
This paper begins with reflections on the development and spread of the ideas, discourse and praxis of radical social work in the 1970s and the cross-fertilisation of these discourses and praxes with discourses and praxes within radical health and mental health initiatives. During these years, for many in the fields of health, mental health and social work, their work and their lives were characterised by active involvement in a range of campaigns focused upon health, mental health and social work issues, together with shared values of more transparent and supportive work with users of health, mental health and social work services and a commitment to greater understanding through social and political theorising.
This analysis is compared with the present where workplace cultures in health and social work emphasise meeting delivery and performance targets. It is argued that workers currently in health, mental health and social work with children and with adults share many similar experiences.
Hegemonic discourses and praxes appear immoveable, but dissatisfaction with the status quo can become a disinhibiting factor. Building from experiences and analysis, exploration is begun into what conditions and connections might be needed now to develop radical discourses and praxes in health, mental health and social work.