Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
ItemYoung men speak: a study of mid-adolescence and masculinityBARRETT, CHRISTINE ( 1999)This study investigated the effect of dominant notions of masculinity in the lives of mid-adolescent males. A qualitative research design, based on the analysis of transcripts of in-depth interviews with eight sixteen and seventeen year-old young men, confirmed the existence of a harsh masculine culture that impinged significantly on their behaviour and attitudes. The findings are identified a possible turning point in young men’s lives, where they begin to develop highly valued close relationships with a small group of friends or mates, with whom they share and emotional bond, and around whom they feel less pressure to prove their manliness. While they described the possibility of sharing thoughts, and feelings and experiences, there were nevertheless limits to what was allowed to be spoken even between the closest of friends. These restrictions were attributable to the sanctions that operated to maintain an environment significantly influenced by dominant notion of masculinity, and in which these friendship groups were embedded. The young men conformed to the tacit restrictions on intimacy, from fear of exposing themselves as weak or poorly skilled. Nevertheless, participants demonstrated a developmental readiness for intimacy, and were beginning to experience emotional engagement with male or female peers. The study suggests the need for a new concept that values and acknowledges a sense of emotional connectedness in the absence of sharing verbalised thoughts and feelings. With intimacy constrained, and little discussion of personal issues, young men had inadequate knowledge of the complexity of problems that might confront them, and few models of coping strategies. Consequently, they risked feeling isolated and unresourced in times of stress. Similarly, while they recognised signs of stress in others, they had few helping skills. In any case, dominant masculinity required that young men handle their own problems, without showing any vulnerability. Counselling was seen as an ultimate failure of manliness. There were indications of intergender rivalry, and despite attempts to be fair and equitable, an underlying belief that men should be in control in families and relationships. Rock music was clearly a potent positive element in the lives of young men, and served a variety of purposes. Alcohol gave individual and group release from the debilitating restrictions of masculinity, removing the need for self-control and allowing greater intimacy. The young men showed they were able to discriminate between “real life” and media or sporting images of masculinity, and had independently identified personal role models from within their own family or friendships circles. This study has shown the importance of understanding the adolescent male world from his own perspective. In particular, it demonstrates the degree to which masculinity impacts on the adolescent behaviour and attitudes, and highlights the necessity for Social Work practitioners to factor the masculine code of behaviour into case and programme planning. Moreover, it is suggested that Social Workers take a proactive approach to teaching young men the language and skills to understand masculinity, and to pursue identity formation and the establishment of positive relationships despite its impact on their lives.
ItemFamily reunification : the journey homeJACKSON, ANNETTE ( 1997-07)Within the child protection system, children are separated from their parents in different ways and for different reasons. Family reunification following these separations, similarly occurs in a variety of ways and is experienced differently by those involved. Through a qualitative design, this study gathered together a range of perspectives regarding the experiences, emotions and beliefs of those involved in family reunification. By interviewing parents, protective workers, caregivers, family support workers, family preservation workers, health workers and others, the researcher hoped to capture their wisdom and insight. Overall, 38 people were interviewed in relation to five examples of reunification. Key concepts and categories were derived from the interviews in conjunction with descriptions of the cases. The researcher then developed a pathways tool which documented the journeys travelled through the process of reunification. Although all the children in these examples of reunification returned to their parents’ care and were still there up to two years later, there were different opinions as to whether or not the reunification was successful, and what barriers hindered and what strategies led to success. The different definitions of success appeared to be greatly influenced by the participants’ assumptions and perspectives regarding the role of state intervention in the lives of families. The findings in this research included a broader understanding of the emotional reactions of parents, caregivers and workers. The enormous sense of loss and other strong emotions felt by parents were often experienced prior to the children being removed, as well as during the separation itself. This therefore challenged the concept of filial deprivation being limited to physical separation of children from their parents and subsequently raised a number of practice issues. Many of the workers and caregivers also described feelings of powerlessness, lack of control and being confronted with limited options. Some of the workers, however, spoke of reunification as a more positive and fulfilling experience than other aspects of their work, even though it involved significant risk and difficult decisions. The principles under lying reunification practice, as outlined in the literature, were evident in aspects of the cases to a varying extent. Opportunities for parents to be actively involved in their children’s placements ranged from no contact with the carer, to visiting almost every day and being actively involved in all decisions. There were some principles which were absent in all of the case examples, such as none of the children experienced continuity of care due to being in multiple placements. There were descriptions of several service models involved at different times and stages along the families’ pathway through reunification, including different reunification programs. There did not appear to be any clarity regarding when a family would be referred to one type of service compared to another. There was also discussion regarding the influence of universal services, such as schools, on the family members’ experience of being included or isolated in each other’s lives. Dilemmas and challenges which arose through reunification included those which were common to many fields in social work, such as clashes of values and beliefs and needing to make decisions between limited and inadequate options. Some of the complex issues particularly relating to reunification were the impact of the separation on children and parents, and the experience of being a ‘parentless child’ or a ‘childless parent’. This was an example of the meaning of an issue being subjective and as important as the factual information. Some of the practice issues which arose through this study included: discussion regarding operationalising permanency planning principles rather than focussing on a parents’ rights or children’s rights dichotomy; developing a partnership perspective with parents, caregivers and workers; the importance of planning and preparation before reunification; whether to celebrate the day of home return or plan it to be as uneventful as possible; and the support and services required following the children’s return home. There were also a number of recommendations made for future research which could further inform practice in working with children and their families through the process of reunification.
ItemThe role of ethnic community organisations in promoting social integration of African immigrants in AustraliaOkai, Benjamin Christian ( 1995)The abolition of the 'White' Australia Policy in 1973 resulted in the broadening of refugee intake and a proliferation of small ethnic groups settling in Australia from all parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this fact, the settlement needs of these small ethnic groups have received very little attention in the Australian literature. Since these small groups consist largely of recent arrivals, they do not have the institutional structures or collective resources of other older more established ethnic communities. Thus, these small newly arrived groups are yet to develop a second generation and their members may have difficulty in accessing the many settlement services which have evolved since the Galbally Report in 1978. This Report based settlement policy on collective self-help and enshrined principles of multiculturalism and cultural maintenance which had been developed earlier on in the late 1960s. The idea is that ethnic communities are better placed to assist their own members in the settlement process. This dissertation thus explores and interprets the role which African self-help ethnic organisations play in promoting the social integration of their members in Australia. No detailed study of African ethnic community organisations, from a participatory perspective, has been conducted in Australia to date. The thesis offers a beginning towards addressing this gap in the field of migration and ethnic affairs in Australia. Based on data researched through an intensive interview program with representatives and leaders of 18 of the 22 ethnic African community associations in Victoria, an heuristic philosophical framework for social research was utilised in this study to explain the role of African ethnic community organisations in the social integration of their members. A typology of these organisations was based on association goals and functions. Set in the context of Australian immigration and settlement policies as these affect the immigration and settlement of African immigrants and refugees in this country, a political economy approach adopted in the analysis of the study makes it possible to identify the structural causes of social problems in which African ethnic community organisations are entangled. The study findings confirms this view, as a majority of respondents stated that structural barriers such as the way and manner immigration and settlement policies are practised in Australia, disadvantage the effectiveness of their organisations. The findings also show that African community organisations are not able to function effectively in delivering social welfare service to members due to the limited and contained national intake of black Africans, which directly affects the size of membership and the political allocation of resources of these organisations. Despite the exploratory nature of this study, the research findings nevertheless point to strong evidence that social integration of immigrant groups is related to the support and services which ethnic community organisations are able to provide to their members in the host country. The findings suggest that African ethnic community organisations assist their members in the initial and longer-term settlement process. The majority of the respondents indicated that their ethnic organisations provided them with a sense of identity, friendship and cultural companionship. The study findings signal the mechanisms by which inadequate resources and lack of institutional support for ethnic community organisations affects the viability of the role of these organisations in the settlement process of their members. This is inconsistent with Australian multicultural policy.
ItemWhen parents relinquish care: planning, transitions and sources of support for middle-aged and older adults with intellectual disabilityBigby, Christine ( 1996)Informal support, primarily from parents, is central to the provision of care for adults with intellectual disability who remain at home with ageing parents. Formal services often play a secondary role and many of these families are not in touch with specialist service systems. Because of increasing longevity, adults with intellectual disability are likely to outlive their parents and thus, in middle-age, lose their primary caregivers. Families and service systems confront the task of planning for transition and the substitution for parental care. As these adults are usually spouseless and childless their closest family will be siblings or more distant relatives. Parents often have high expectations of future roles of such kin, although in the general community those in these relationships do not normally fulfill extensive caring roles. Existing research suggests that older people with intellectual disability have limited informal support and a high demand for formal services. However, the nature of support in the post parental care phase has not been fully explored. Studies have not differentiated people with a history of institutionalisation from those with family care backgrounds and have often excluded people unknown to specialist services. This study investigated this unmapped phase in the lives of one group of people with intellectual disability. The study exan1ined the processes of planning and transition from parental care and the intersection of formal and informal sources of later life support for adults with intellectual disability who remained in parental care until mid-life. An understanding of informal support to this group was placed in a broad context by drawing on empirical and theoretical literature from social gerontology and social work whilst sources of formal support were considered in the context of Australian Aged Care and Disability Policies. Qualitative methodology was used. The sample was generated using an area-based case finding strategy and comprised 62 people with intellectual disability aged 55 years or over who had left the care of their parents after the age of 40. Data about parental plans and their sources of support, both currently and since they had left parental care, were gathered through in-depth interviews with multiple informants. Most comn10nly, parental planning was informally based, relying on the nomination of informal successors to oversee well-being. Parental expectations were fulfilled and, for most, the transition to non parental care was an informally managed process with minimal reliance on formal services. Informal support continued to play a significant, though different, role in the post parental care phase. Parental functions were split between informal supports, which oversaw well-being, and formal care that provided primary care. Informally based plans were more successful, over the long term, in ensuring security than more concrete residential plans. Parents successfully established a 111echanism, in a key informal network member, who could manage unforeseen contingences and organise formal services. Although formal support, particularly generic aged services, were used extensively it could not adequately replicate informal functions. The post parental care phase was characterised by significant change and a vulnerability to control by others, shrinkage of informal networks and residential mobility. Disability services became more inaccessible as people grew older and generic aged services were sometimes considered inappropriate. Mismatches between the thrusts of Aged Care services and Disability services, and differing perceptions of II older" resulted in neither system being responsive to the needs of middle-aged and older people with intellectual disability. Recognition and nurturance of social networks and a pro-active policy of collaboration between Specialist Disability and Aged Care service systems are suggested to address Some of the later life vulnerabilities of older people with intellectual disability.