Fact, fiction, faction: rehearsing social work through [novel] autoethnography

Author: John Pitt

Pitt, John, 2023 Fact, fiction, faction: rehearsing social work through [novel] autoethnography, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This thesis places myself as an autoethnographer in the cultural context of Australian statutory child protection social work.

I seek to make an original contribution to knowledge by revealing the practice of social work as distinct from its place within the academy - Exegesis. This is further explored through a creative artefact – Fiction – to provide commentary on statutory social work that is otherwise hidden from public view and scrutiny.

My cultural background as an Anglo-Saxon, white, entitled male born in England and re-settled in Australia in 2004 is a separate, yet conjoined area of research – Fact – and is included as a separate artefact - Diary. This draws on a personal archive that includes diaries and other writing, composed between the ages of 16 to mid-20s, that casts light on my intellectual and sentimental development, as well as giving insight on how, late in my life cycle, I chose to re-train as a social worker - Exegesis.

Fact, Fiction and Faction are blended in a virtual performance dedicated to a life-story, one who has lived ‘…a multiplex life: sailing at once in several seas’ (Geertz, 1988, p. 77).

Keywords: Social work, autoethnography, practitioner research, child protection, creative writing, Australia

Subject: Sociology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Prof. Kristin Natalier