Discourses of inter-professionalism

Reynolds, Jill (2007). Discourses of inter-professionalism. British Journal of Social Work, 37(3) pp. 441–457.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm023


This paper explores identity through looking at how different discourses of inter-professionalism are drawn on by professionals and by service users in relation to the multi-professional context of service provision. It follows traditions in critical discursive psychology in understanding talk as constitutive. Glimpses of the emergence of a new professional identity congruent with the demands of inter-professional work can be seen in the online discussions of students on a course in managing care and the paper considers how this identity is constructed.
A feature of particular interest in the student forum data is the extent to which they construct colleagues from different professions, managers and service users as ‘the other’ in ways that devalue their contribution, while at the same time praising the benefits of inter-professional collaboration. The paper concludes that new professional identities that fit with a context of new working arrangements and relationships nonetheless continue to show ‘othering’ in the production of a positive identity. However, rigid binaries have been disturbed by an emphasis on inter-professional working. As people work in different and cross-cutting new organizations that involve re-defining what the team is, the binaries become less fixed and more fluid.

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