British Journal of Social Work
In an essay in Critical Social Work, Robert Fairbanks suggests that space perspectives need to be accounted for in social work practice if the profession is to procure a more nuanced understanding of the production of social relationships. Yet, Fairbanks s analysis fails to account for the problematic of a spatialised politics of belonging for racialised subjects, and for the connections between racialising practices and (neo)liberal governance on localized social-spatial relations. This paper addresses these shortcoming by accomplishing three objectives: (1) To introduce a renewed vector of space thesis by borrowing from post-colonial writings; (2) To enliven that frame by critically reading visual images produced within the context of social service agencies in Toronto. I examine how these images attempt to reorient codes of difference and belonging in relationship to the representational and material contexts in which they were produced; and (3) To provoke a Social Work response to its own animation of these theoretical precepts. I argue that client produced representations reposition a practice sight-line away from a positioning of client subjectivity as redeemable only in it s neo-liberal guise or as surplus in its democratic value, towards one that allows for an inter-subjective unfolding of identity, place and belonging.
neo-liberalism, racism, spatialised politics, youth at risk
© 2011 The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
Crath, Rory, "Belonging as a Mode of Interpretive In-Between: Image, Place and Space in the Video Works of Racialised and Homeless Youth" (2012). School for Social Work: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.