Child Welfare Investigations: How Observations Create Practice
Hilde A. Aamodt

The present article stems from of a curiosity about how practice becomes established as practice in the face of the viability of other potential practices. Based on a hypothetical child welfare investigation, I show that the way we observe determines what we see and thus also how we act. The investigations take shape through observations and depend on the observers‟ particular perspective. Because the work of child welfare investigations is determined by the observer‟s way of seeing, it becomes critical to study the way different observations come into being, and which observations become visible. I also show how social systems make themselves dependent on the observations of non-social systems and how these observations serve as premises for what we see and how we act. The aim of the article is to show how any given and established practice could look different, not to criticize or applaud existing practice, but in order to demonstrate the uncertainty inherent in our observations and thus the seriousness of claiming that something needs to be a certain way. The article is based in a systems theoretical approach and employs form/medium analysis in accordance with the presentation and introduction of it by Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen in his most recent book (Andersen, (ed.) 2019).

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v10n2a3