A Case Scenario: Using Social Work Theories: A Family In Crisis

1158 words - 5 pages

The aim of this discussion paper is to examine the situation of a family living in a small rural town. As the current condition of the family is a result of long term social, economical and political development in the society, this paper will apply the structural approach to understand what circumstances have had major influence in precipitating the family into the crisis it is now. The focus is on Joe, who is long term unemployed and while his wife is dying of cancer, he is waiting for trial because of stealing to support his drug habit. The house that he is living in with his five years old daughter is in appalling sanitary condition.Joe's situationThe main aspect of the scenario that this paper will focus on is the socio-economic situation of the family, particularly Joe's unemployment, drug addiction and weak parental skills which are influenced by a number of factors:· Living in a small rural town : limited work opportunities, isolation, difficulties in accessing services and not enough support· Long term unemployment: stereotyped, economic and social disadvantage· Patriarchal ideology: clearly defined gender roles· Drug habit: labelled, economic hardshipStructural social work theoryStructural social work which is underpinned by the socialist ideology, views social problems as arising from a specific societal context - liberal/neo-conservative capitalism, rather than from the failings of individuals. (Mullaly, 1997 p. 133) It focuses on oppression as the major source of social problems. As stated in Mullaly, oppression is determined by harm happening to a particular person due to membership in a particular group by means of exploitation, marginalisation, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence. Capitalist society has established self-perpetuating systems such as the family to reproduce the unequal relationships. (Payne, 1997 p.223)Living in a rural townOne of the factors having impact on Joe's life and his present situation is that he is living in a small rural town. The immense restructuring of agriculture, giving way to multinational companies operating with modern technologies, causes the unemployment problem in the rural areas. Also, compared to the urban areas, rural Australia is disadvantaged when considering the number and diversity of services and organisations for people and their needs, as well as the cost involved in accessing them. Thus, to access drug services or better medical help for his wife, Joe probably has to travel to a bigger city, which in turn costs money that he does not have. Considering all this, obviously the broader socio-economic structures are at fault for not providing an environment which enables personal survival or social fulfilment. (Mullaly, 1997)UnemploymentOne of the form of oppression - marginalisation, does apply to Joe's situation. Joe has a right to work, but because of the shortage of work in rural areas, he cannot exercise this right and is confined to the...

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