Weaving and Unraveling Dominance: A Critical Analysis of Personal and Professional Social Work Identities in Alberta, Canada

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David, Kendal Marie




This thesis reports on findings from a critical qualitative study exploring and challenging normative notions of what it means to be a social worker. I investigate how practicing social workers in Alberta negotiate their personal and professional identities. Drawing on 22 transcripts from semi-structured interviews with 11 unique participants, I analyze discursive strategies that are used to define and categorize what social work is and who social workers are expected to be. Grounded in critical and anti-oppressive theories and methodologies - namely Critical Disability Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis - I critique how dominance and power are woven into narratives of identity, belonging, and pride within the interview data. In particular, I illustrate how being a social worker is constructed in opposition to being a client. I conclude by reflecting on what social work could become when the rigid exclusionary boundaries of the profession are unraveled and reimagined.


Social Work




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Social Work: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Social Work

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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