Understandings of how Professional Practice and Problem Definitions Influence the Possibilities of Children's Conduct of Life

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This presentation rests on the empirical study in my PhD. project anchored in a Danish municipal institution for children labelled as having “special
needs”. In the presentation I address the process of defining and supporting children’s “special needs” - a process of conflictual cooperation between
professionals across different fields. Children participate in and across a lot of social practices, in which a number of different professionals are dealing
with aspects of development, learning etc. The professional’s perspectives vary according to their different positions in the social practices (School, institutions
family etc.). However the administrative bureaucracy’s call for unambiguous determination of “special needs” undermines the comprehension
of plurality of professional perspectives. In this way a gap occurs between a multifaceted understanding of the child’s conduct of life and the production
of the “child as a case”.
I intend to explore the connections between bureaucratic, interdisciplinary and professional practices that are organised to support children, including
the bureaucratic process of defining children’s “special needs”. In the process different professionals understand children’s difficulties in different ways
according to their specific responsibility, professional interests and structural conditions of action. These are of importance to the way categories of
“special needs” are being formed/defined.
But when the professional’s different perspectives and their conflicts are being covered up by the unifying administrative processes, it seems to undermine
an understanding of the way these conflicts are of importance to the child’s concrete conditions of life.
So saying, a more precise comprehension of children’s actual difficulties involves the analysis of, how the process of defining “special needs” also depends
on the way different professional’s cooperation is organized. The understanding of children’s difficulties and the implications of the understanding
must be seen in relation to the bureaucratic structures and professional practices, that the children’s difficulties are being organised in.
Translated title of the contributionForståelser af hvordan professionel praksis og dens problemdefinitioner har betydning for muligheder i børns deglige livsførelse.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date12 Sep 2008
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2008
EventISCAR Congress - San Diego, United States
Duration: 9 Sep 200813 Sep 2008


ConferenceISCAR Congress
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego

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