Socialinis darbas

patirtis ir metodai

Professional identity of male social workers


This article deals with the phenomenon of professional identity and the importance of biographical method which can serve as a tool to reveal and explore one's career path. Personal narratives and life history combine the inner and outer worlds, subjectivity and objectivity, also create a bridge between the history of culture and personal biography, the structure of society, discourses and subjectivity of a person. The main goal of this article is to discuss how male social workers develop and construct their professional identity telling their (hi)stories of professional life. Professional identities of male social workers were analyzed using qualitative research approach. The biographical interview was chosen as a means of data collection. This method enabled to reveal the process of professional identity development through reconstruction of past experiences. Social workers, men of 26–59 years old, took part in 7 interviews. The results of biographical interview were evaluated using the interpretative phenomenology analysis, which consists of four studies created by Willing (2003). The research revealed that the trajectory of male social workers' professional identity development followed a similar pattern. Almost all participants in the research began their professional stories from their youth, after they finished secondary school and started studies in a higher education institution. Analysis of our research findings indicates that almost all men have chosen to work in the field of social work after certain significant events in their lives, which were often critical life experiences, such as alcohol or drug addiction, divorce, illness, etc., which they overcame and started a new life trying to help other people. The stories of their professional lives reflect both individual and collective experience, which has been influenced by objective social structures (historical time, social circumstances and peculiarities of male psychology).


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