So different and yet so common : institutional contexts and narrative approach

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

So different and yet so common : institutional contexts and narrative approach

 

Author: Lit, Siu-wai
Title: So different and yet so common : institutional contexts and narrative approach
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Narration (Rhetoric) -- Psychological aspects.
Context effects (Psychology)
Counseling -- Technique
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: vii, 294 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2351737
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5414
Abstract: This thesis represents a record of my narrative journeys of discovery as well as being a reflective account of an exploratory study, using the narrative approach in therapeutic, educational and community institutional contexts respectively. The central concern of that study was to explore whether the use of the narrative approach allows for the creation of an emancipatory, liberating and enabling space that is conducive to evolving narratives that allow multiple voices and transformation in social work practice. This journey was inspired by three critical personal experiences, leading me beyond self-searching, self-dialogue and self-discovery into a critical reflection about dominant social work institutional practices and a search for their ontological and epistemological implications hindering or enabling transformative and emancipatory future practice. The first Chapter offers an account of my heuristic entry into this thesis through the personal encounters with three perplexing and complex experiences, leading to my ‘letting go’ of the known and familiar and thus paving the way for further explorations in the second Chapter. This Chapter includes the construction of an ontological and epistemological framework in support of my later explorations in the use of the narrative approach in three distinct institutional contexts relevant for social work practice. Chapter Three, then, examines how historical and recent changes within the broad local/societal/institutional contexts have re-written the foundational conditions of social work practice in Hong Kong. Chapters Four to Six represent the data chapters that explore the conditions, structures and processes that need to be created to enlarge the liberating space in the selected institutional contexts; I also focus on the ways I needed to negotiate my role and participation in the concrete settings of the three institutional so that they may become more conducive for rich narratives to evolve and that can make a difference to the stories people tell about themselves and which are constitutive of their very lives and relationships. The final Chapter summaries the trajectory of my discoveries and develops suggestions on how the use of the narrative approach could create a more emancipatory and liberating social work practice by abandoning the desire for a single, homogenous context for all human lives and for finding solutions to (assumed) problems; by appreciating that life is to be fashioned in a fluid process of becoming who one is and by showing concern for and interest in how people’s lives are created; and by bringing back the voices of persons that are virtually absent in the institutional discourse through our every encounter with them, looking at this process as a mutual construction that can make differences in the way people tell their stories and hence live their lives.

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