Task Your practitioner analysis should be a comparison of all of the practitioner talks. You should begin your work by briefly defining your methodology and how this methodology might help you to analyse these talks (the discourse). You can use one or several of the theoretical perspectives for analysing meaning in talk and text.
These are: Content analysis: identifying categories in a text and counting the instances Grounded theory: Identify themes (tags) and group them into categories Semiotics: The meaning behind signs (language). Discourse analysis Discourse is concerned with establishing one version of the world in the face of competing versions
You MUST have a bibliography forthis work You must use sources to inform this work in defining the pertinent characteristics of discourse analysis as a methodology; to inform your discussions and application of issues such as organisational cultures, performance indicators, managerialism, equal opportunities etc; to inform your discussions on the practitioner organisations.
In the practitioner presentations,you should look for the following: Evidence of Professionalism and Power. Evidence of ‘organisational cultures’. The dominant values and norms that they aspire to. Evidence of managerialism and multi-agency partnerships. What sort of partnerships they are involved in. How they ensure equal opportunities. Which criminological theories you think might help explain the participant’s views or the apparent values of the organisation that they are representing.
Professionalism and Power: Professions often have knowledge that others do not have. This gives them a certain amount of power over others who do not possess the same knowledge or expertise. What knowledge/expertise do you think each of the practitioners demonstrates that marks out the professionalism of their work? Think about jargon, procedures and working practices. Do they have power to construct or change the dominant ‘truths’, or is this a ‘top down’ phenomenon? Who constructs the dominant truths in the discourse?
Organisational culture Within organisations, values and norms shared by people or groups that affect the way in which those individuals interact with others may signify an organisational culture. Look for the values and norms that the practitioner promotes. Can you detect an organisational culture or a number of competing cultures? How do they deal with ‘crime’/ or what they see as ‘their problem’. How they refer to their ‘service users’? What appears to be their underlying ethos…welfare/justice/crime control? How do they talk about their colleagues or management? How do they talk about other organisations? Does the practitioner have the same aims as their organisation?
Managerialism Managerialism has an emphasis on management, performance and cost effectiveness related to specific aims or ‘performance indicators’. Does the practitioner talk about things related to performance, efficiency, value for money/cost effectiveness or performance indicators? How do they measure and evaluate their aims and successes?
Multi-agency partnerships The creation of ‘multi-agency’ partnerships as a way of dealing with ‘problems’ in society gained ground throughout the 80’s and 90’s building on a historical tradition of attempts to create ‘joined up’ government. Multi-agency partnerships are exactly what the term suggests, which is a group of practitioners from different agencies who are charged with addressing a particular problem. Find out which other agencies the practitioners work with? What are the fundamental aims that the practitioners have? Do they have the goals in common with other related organisations or are there possible contradictions between organisations in relation to their underlying aims and goals?
What sector?? What models of partnership might the practitioners talk about? Is there evidence of Public/private partnerships? Is there evidence of central and/or local public service delivery? Is their evidence of local community based partnerships? What sector does the practitioner represent: Public/private/voluntary sector?
Equality The concept of ‘Equal opportunities’ is an important concept within all organisations, both in terms of service users and employees. Does the practitioner talk about equal opportunities or equality? How is equality of opportunity ensured? Might race, class, gender, disability or age be significant in their work?
Applying theories……some possibilities? Risk Management Rehabilitation New/Old Penology Right or left realism Authoritarian populism Labelling Classicism Positivism Radical Criminology/Criminalisation
Student discourse analysisexamples… The following slides show how students have written about the practitioner talks in their work….
Using language: “The Fraud Agency appeared to have a distinctly ‘punitive’ culture, and of all the agencies was arguably more focussed on social control…The participant referred to those who commit benefit fraud as ‘thieves’ which indicates a punitive approach. Conversely, the participant from Addaction referred to her service users as ‘clients’ which suggests a more ‘caring’ attitude”. (Student discourse analysis 2010).
Use of sources and theories: “The prison practitioner in particular commented that early intervention – for example the care and nurture of ‘a mum’ – may have altered their behaviour. This suggests positivistic leanings towards treatments, rather than the punishment of offenders, despite the fact that the prison service itself was more influenced by the ideas of classicism (Newburn 2007 p 118).” (Student discourse analysis 2010).
Applying theories and usingsources: Talking about the benefit fraud agency: “Two criminological theories which are relevant are Risk management whereby in this case the agency are not wanting to put those at risk who are closely linked to those suspected, and right realism, whereby the crime committed is done so because of personal interest and self gain. As right realist theorist Wilson highlights ‘…if crime pays more people will do it.’ (Wilson 1975 cited in Treadwell, 2007 p57).” (Student discourse analysis 2010).
Multi Agency Partnerships “All practitioners identified multi-agency partnerships…an example of tensions as a result of different aims and objectives is the relation between drugs charities and the police. The Addaction practitioner commented that when she was an arrest referral worker, there were often contradictory goals between herself, who was trying to identify underlying drug and alcohol problems in order to help and change behaviour, and the police who were solely concerned with prosecuting someone who had been caught in possession of illegal drugs.” (Student discourse analysis 2010).
Jargon “All of the practitioners used some degree of jargon, which demonstrated professional knowledge and arguably their power over those who do not possess that knowledge and expertise. The practitioner from youth offending used the term ‘ECM’, when referring to ‘Every Child Matters’…without initial explanation… This assumed that his audience was already informed.” (Student discourse analysis 2010).
Concluding advice: You need to make extensive notes during the practitioner lectures so that you have ‘language’ examples that you can quote in your practitioner analysis. You could list the pertinent themes and have this next to you as you are making your notes to remind you about what you need to be looking for. The first paragraph of your practitioner analysis should discuss how you are going to use discourse analysis/semiotics/content analysis/grounded theory in your work. You must use source materials about the different practitioner areas and the methodology to compliment and inform your work.