Searching for poverty-aware social work: Discourse analysis of job descriptions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article aims to enrich the current limited body of knowledge regarding social work professional discourse. More specifically, it seeks to examine the extent and ways in which the social work intra-profession discourse, as it is manifested in formal job descriptions of social workers in Israel, reflects the commitment to working with people living in poverty and to confronting poverty. We provide a brief review of the concept of professional discourse and the role of formal job descriptions in this discourse in general, and in Israel in particular. 'Poverty-aware social work' is then conceptualised. Against this background, we analysed 75 job descriptions in order to ascertain whether, and in what ways, references to poverty appear in defining client populations, in directions for assessing their situation, and in defining the goals and methods of professional intervention. The research findings reflect a textual silence in relation to poverty issues in job descriptions. The analysis of poverty-related sub-topics in these documents suggests that job descriptions offer, and simultaneously reproduce a conservative and a-political perspective on poverty and on social work practice with people living in poverty.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)313-332
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration


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