© 2017

Blame, Culture and Child Protection

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Jadwiga Leigh
    Pages 1-12
  3. Jadwiga Leigh
    Pages 13-32
  4. England

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Jadwiga Leigh
      Pages 35-49
    3. Jadwiga Leigh
      Pages 75-122
  5. Flanders

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 123-123
    2. Jadwiga Leigh
      Pages 125-141
    3. Jadwiga Leigh
      Pages 143-165
    4. Jadwiga Leigh
      Pages 203-217
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 219-255

About this book


In recent years child protection issues have dominated media and public discourse in the UK. This book offers a unique perspective by giving voice to those social workers working within a profession which has become increasingly embedded in a culture of blame. Exploring how statutory child protection agencies function, Leigh also reveals how ‘organisational culture’ can significantly affect the way in which social work is practised.

Providing a comparative analysis between the UK and Belgium, Leigh uses ethnography to illuminate the differences between the settings by examining how interactions and affected atmospheres impact on their identities. This book reveals how practitioners perceive themselves differently in such environments and explores the impact this has on their identity as well as the work they carry out with children and families. Leigh’s enquiry and compelling critique into social work, identity and organisations calls for mutual understanding and respect, rather than a culture of blame.


Social work organisation affect social interactionism ethnography atmosphere identity Goffman Children Families Professionalization Safeguarding Erving Goffman

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociological StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Jadwiga Leigh is a Lecturer in the Sociological Studies Department at the University of Sheffield, UK. She qualified as a social worker in 2005 and has worked in both statutory and voluntary child protection settings. Teaching on the social work and sociology programmes, Leigh is interested in professional identity and affect/emotion in organisational culture.


Bibliographic information


“This book offers a refreshingly candid account of both social work practice and research. Drawing upon the work of Irving Goffman, the author sets out to understand how UK child protection practice has been impacted and shaped cultures of blame, which have enveloped the profession in recent years. … the fact this book is written in such an accessible way makes it appropriate for those who wish to better understand child protection or to think about their own practice.” (Helen Woods, Journal of Social Work Practice, July, 2018)​