The relevance of biographic narratives for social workers’ professional memory, reflexivity and identity
Silva, Pedro Gabriel (2020). The relevance of biographic narratives for social workers’ professional memory, reflexivity and identity. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, OnlineFirst. DOI: 10.1177/1473325020967725
Published inQualitative Social Work: Research and Practice
© 2020, SAGE Publications
The present article is about the use of biographic methods and oral history, and its contribution to developing processes of critical reflection and reflexivity. It is based on a set of oral data collected from Portuguese social workers who played an active role in the revolutionary phase during the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Portugal (following the 25th April 1974 military coup). The article explores how the use of biographic methods (integrated within a historical methodological framework), other than simply producing accounts of past experiences, allowed interviewees to re-capture, re-interpret and re-signify their own experiences in the light of changing professional paradigms and socio-political arrangements. It will demonstrate how resorting to oral history methods can contribute to produce critical self-reflective accounts, allowing intra-professional tensions, self-expectations, beliefs and disenchantment, as well as professional identification and deidentification to surface. Three examples will be presented that reveal how favouring an approach based on oral history, biographic methods and narrative analysis allows perceiving individual dispositions, its construction and the influence they have on the subjects’ relation with the canons of professional practice, while showing the ambiguities around professional representations and identification. ...