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Home > Arhiva > 2012 > Numar: 3 > WAVE: Working with Adults who are Vulnerable – A Comparison of Curricula, Policies and Constructions

 WAVE: Working with Adults who are Vulnerable – A Comparison of Curricula, Policies and Constructions

  • Jonathan Parker (Social & Community Work, Centre of Social Work & Social Policy School of Health & Social Care, Bournemouth University, Royal London House, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3TS, Phone: +44(0)1202 962 810, E-mail:
  • Sara Ashencaen Crabtree (Bournemouth University, UK)
  • Wing Hong Chui (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR)
  • Tadakazu Kumagai (Kawasaki University, Japan)
  • Ismail Baba (University Utara Malaysia, Malaysia )
  • Azlinda Azman (University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)
  • Christine Haselbacher (Social Work, University of Applied Sciences, St Pölten, Austria)
  • Hadi Ridha Ashkanani (University of Kuwait, Kuwait)
  • Peter Szto (University of Nebraska in Omaha, USA )

This paper reports a project examining curricula information from a number of social work programmes around the world. The research scoped knowledge of social work education responses to ‘adults who are vulnerable’ from seven universities in seven different countries. The project examined some of the issues arising from the contested term ‘vulnerability’ and sets the discussion within social work, accepting that anyone can be vulnerable in given situations, that it has been seen to be a term which has generated negative assumptions, nonetheless it is employed within social work education. A literature search showed a paucity of research, and indicating that ‘vulnerability’ of the curriculum itself was a concern, that people could become vulnerable through attitudes to social divisions, and through susceptibility to harm, ill-health and violence. The research team hoped to develop shared understandings and approaches that will help develop innovative international curriculum response to questions concerning the contested concept of adult vulnerability. Problems in collecting, translating and analysing the data initially retarded the study’s progress, but provided interesting reflexive data concerning some of the complex factors involved in conducting virtual trans-national research. Changes were made to the original project brief to ensure its completion. A model showing the interrelationships between social work as a ritual performance enacted through everyday practices, and a desire to develop global (soft) isomorphic approaches to vulnerability was developed to help explain social work approaches to vulnerability.

Keywords: Vulnerability, social work curriculum, education, cross national research