Stigma in social work - When social workers and citizens are given a voice

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Tanja Jørgensen Bertel
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this thesis is to investigate tendencies towards stigmatization in social pedagogical support for people with mental illnesses. The thesis is based on the professional presentation ‘Better mental health for people with mental illnesses’ from 2022, which intends to form a basis for a general political proposal for a 10-year plan of development of Danish psychiatry. The stigmatization of people with mental illnesses is in the plan considered a main challenge which is fundamental in improving the Danish psychiatry, including a focus on professionals contribution to the stigmatization of people with mental illnesses. Current Danish research in the field points at the social workers knowledge as a primary reason to stigma. This thesis argues that in the understanding of social workers contribution to the stigmatization of people with mental illness, one must understand the structural framework in which social work is embedded and which can be considered as contributing to the stigmatization of people with mental illnesses in the social work.
The thesis is based on qualitative studies and contains semi-structured interviews with ten informants, five social workers who handle the work of social pedagogical support to people with mental illnesses and five citizens who receives social pedagogical support due to their mental illnesses. The thesis has a hermeneutic approach, and therefore a special interest in the individual informants experiences with social pedagogical support. The analysis includes Erving Goffman's theory of stigma, from which relevant concepts are included. Likewise, Corrigan et al’s understanding of structural discrimination is included as a complementary perspective to illuminate the structural dimension of stigma.
The analysis in the thesis is based on the collected empirical data and concludes that the social workers participation in stigmatizing people with mental illnesses essentially is identified in the relation to the structural level, which influences the social pedagogical supports possibilities and limitations in the social work with the citizen. It also concludes that a destigmatization of people with mental illnesses must be based on the complexity of their situation, both in relation the individual aim and for the overall requirement to people with mental illnesses. 
LanguageDanish
Publication dateJun 2022
External collaboratorUkendt
No Name vbn@aub.aau.dk
Information group
ID: 471787730