Impact of security issues on social workers A study of conflict-ridden areas of north-west Pakistan

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of security issues on the lives and work of social workers during the on-going political conflict in the north-west Pakistan. This purpose was investigated by exploring the research questions focused on threats faced by the social workers, their impact on the personal and professional lives of social workers and the coping mechanisms they used to continue their work. A mixed method qualitative research design was used to conduct the research. Initially nine one-to-one in-depth interviews were conducted followed by a focused group discussion with five social workers working in north-west Pakistan. Theoretical perspectives of power, gender and systems were used to analyze the findings of this research. The findings show that the social workers found radical religious views of the clerics and Taliban, strong gendered ideas of the communities and discrimination against ethno-religious minorities as posing the threats to their personal and professional lives. The social workers work in a low profile so that they are not spotted by the militants and use prior engagement and networking with the communities as their key risk management strategy. The study concludes that it is the power relations existing between different systems such as that of religious clergy, militancy and the gender systems encircled by a macro-system of radical religious norms and culture in the communities that create an insecure environment for the social workers. The study also shows that the social workers need to be sensitive to these issues when engaging with communities so not to disturb their norms and values before working in these communities. The study confirmed the need identified in previous researches for training and education for social workers to equip them with knowledge and skills to work in situations of political conflicts.

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