Hayes and Houston's positive review of Habermas's contribution to discourse in family group conferences (in this journal) has been challenged by Garrett. In this paper, one of the authors replies to Garrett but extends the analysis through a more considered, developed and detailed examination of Habermas's thoughts on power in social life. This leads to a conceptual framework that enables the participants in the conference to exercise power in a positive manner. In developing this earlier analysis, the paper also acknowledges Garrett's argument that Bourdieu helps us to understand the nature of constraining social structures in child protection. However, Bourdieu's ideas are subsequently challenged on the grounds that they lack a competent formulation on human agency - a faculty that Habermas cogently elucidates. This enlarged understanding of agency, it is argued, offers a theoretical resource that fits better with the ethos of emancipatory social work.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Health(social science)