Book chapter abstract

About getting a daily life going : Social work, time and normalization


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Publication Details

Subtitle: Social work, time and normalization

Author list: Fahlgren, Siv

Publisher: Bentham eBooks

Publication year: 2011

Book title (if part of a book): NORMALIZATION AND “OUTSIDERHOOD” : Feminist Readings Of A Neoliberal Welfare State

Start page: 28

End page: 38

Number of pages: 11

ISBN: 978-1-60805-279-0



Abstract: This chapter analyzes the normalization processes taking place in a Swedish social welfare institution for children/families as processes in which social life is regulated by sociotemporal patterns. Agendas for change in social work institutions are often tied to linear clock time and are continuously repeated in institutional practice. The empirical material consists of ten narrative interviews conducted with the personnel and is here analyzed in relation to the meaning of time in the narratives. The aim is to show how certain concepts of time become normalized as the supposedly neutral foundation for social life, and how the values and power relations inherent in them in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and class become invisible. This normalization makes time into part of institutional disciplining, thus legitimizing certain social practices while others are discredited. The very construction of normalcy itself seems to depend on a linear time structure (the right time, on time etc.). Ironically, these normalization processes may reproduce the very power orders that create social marginalization, stigmatization and social problems that social work have to challenge, and may discredit social practices related to process times that might challenge such power orders. By understanding and conceptualizing the complexity and variety of time that interpenetrate within and permeate our daily lives we may be able to discuss and challenge these normalization processes.


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