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Questioned parents and the professional gaze. Negotiating the organizational narratives of the at-risk parent

Questioned parents and the professional gaze. Negotiating the organizational narratives of the... This study aims at a better understanding of parents’ identity work when their parenting skills are questioned, in an organizational setting. The parents in this study were assessed as at risk of unsatisfactory parental functioning because of problems related to drugs, mental health and/or psychosocial functioning, and they were observed and offered guidance at an extended health centre in Norway. The study explores how individual self-presentations are interwoven with and dependent on organizational narratives of identity.Design/methodology/approachBased on an analysis of 16 qualitative interviews, three exemplary cases are analyzed in detail. Narrative identity and professional gaze constitute the theoretical framework.FindingsParents and service providers negotiate which organizational narratives of identity are available, and the narratives are integrated in parents’ self-presentations in different ways. The most common strategy is to accept the organizational narratives offered, but they are also transformed and rejected. The experience of being seen by an empathic professional gaze contributes to the creation of an acceptable self-narrative.Practical implicationsTending to parents’ identity needs should be an integral part of services provided. If parents are to cooperate with state services and engage in interventions, their needs for preserving an acceptable and coherent self-narrative must be considered.Originality/valueThis paper adds to the understanding of how identity work is a central feature of service provision. It also adds to the literature on relationships between identity narratives at different levels of society. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Children's Services Emerald Publishing

Questioned parents and the professional gaze. Negotiating the organizational narratives of the at-risk parent

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1746-6660
DOI
10.1108/jcs-01-2020-0001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims at a better understanding of parents’ identity work when their parenting skills are questioned, in an organizational setting. The parents in this study were assessed as at risk of unsatisfactory parental functioning because of problems related to drugs, mental health and/or psychosocial functioning, and they were observed and offered guidance at an extended health centre in Norway. The study explores how individual self-presentations are interwoven with and dependent on organizational narratives of identity.Design/methodology/approachBased on an analysis of 16 qualitative interviews, three exemplary cases are analyzed in detail. Narrative identity and professional gaze constitute the theoretical framework.FindingsParents and service providers negotiate which organizational narratives of identity are available, and the narratives are integrated in parents’ self-presentations in different ways. The most common strategy is to accept the organizational narratives offered, but they are also transformed and rejected. The experience of being seen by an empathic professional gaze contributes to the creation of an acceptable self-narrative.Practical implicationsTending to parents’ identity needs should be an integral part of services provided. If parents are to cooperate with state services and engage in interventions, their needs for preserving an acceptable and coherent self-narrative must be considered.Originality/valueThis paper adds to the understanding of how identity work is a central feature of service provision. It also adds to the literature on relationships between identity narratives at different levels of society.

Journal

Journal of Children's ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 17, 2021

Keywords: Identity; Self-presentation; Parenting; Health center; Organizational narrative identity; Professional gaze

References