Supervision is “not politically innocent”
Adamson here suggests that in making the arguments ‘for’ supervision we must be very mindful of the context (Adamson 2012, 194). Supervision is not, and should never be presumed to be, politically neutral. Regulation of social work has tended to embed traditional practices of supervision into social work professional systems. Questions arise about the impact of culture (in its broadest sense), systems of education and organisational (regulatory, employment and professional) systems on the practice of supervision as it accompanies models of social work professionalism around the globe.
In its purest form it might be hoped that supervision could transcend its ‘local’ contexts and promote social work principles, theories and skills.
In contemporary social work however supervision is often legitimated via professional and organisational systems (regulation and management) which may challenge traditional discourses of professionalism and professional autonomy and discretion (Evetts 2011), and supervision cannot be detached from the influence of these discourses. Top down and managerialist discourses contribute to the creation of professional and organisational cultures which generally reflect dominant worldviews and practices. Thus the supervision approach that might work well in western professional cultural settings might not work elsewhere. Consideration of context is thus fundamental. In the article I employ the work of Houston (2002) and Bourdieu (1989) to explore the idea that ‘one supervision?’ might be an impossible construct.
These ideas explored further in my new article:’Supervision and developing the profession: One supervision or many?’ Read here in the China Journal of Social Work special issue on Education and Training for Professional Practice if you have access or an author’s final draft version at Researchgate