Governing Risk: Care and Control in Contemporary Social Work by Mark Hardy (auth.)

By Mark Hardy (auth.)

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As a consequence, the nature of practice has changed in meaningful ways. 32 Governing Risk It appears, then, that ‘the repressive force of risk has become deeply embedded within our practice landscapes, and in turn, has come to dominate the way we think about ourselves and our clients, and with ill effect’ (Stanford 2008, p. 210). There is thus a need to ensure that ‘the priority given to risk reduction, security, and protection [is] contested’ (Green 2007, p. 402). Conclusion Though notions of actuarial and evidence based practice are relatively novel, the idea that social work should be undertaken on the basis of scientific rather than artistically generated knowledge is longstanding.

Originally, Foucault approached the study of discourse using an analytic approach which he referred to as archaeology. Archaeology focuses upon ‘the rules which govern the production of statements in particular discursive formations’ and concerns ‘the various conditions of formation which govern the emergence of objects, concepts, theories, and forms of subjectivity within knowledge’ (Dean 1994, p. 31). Archaeology represents a means via which the features of discourse can be described and analysed.

Government became a distinct activity based upon forms of knowledge and techniques of the human and social sciences. A conception of the state developed in which the needs of the collective came to form the objectives of rule. The focus of observation, measurement and intervention therefore shifted from the individual to the entire population. Consequently, the institutions and practices of policing, healthcare and social welfare gradually emerged. It also entailed a change in the theory and practice of rule, drawing upon aspects of both sovereign and 46 Governing Risk disciplinary power.

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