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Stories from Edzell Lodge children’s home in the 1940s and 1950s: lessons for practice and research

‘Gnatola ma no kpon sia, eyenabe adelan to kpo mi sena’ (‘Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story’) (Ghanian proverb, available at: http://thelionandthehunter. org/). Historically, both the discipline and profession of social work have been imagined and constructed by those who oversee social work services – ‘the hunters’, according to the aforementioned Ghanaian proverb. Thus, it has been predominantly white, middle-class, non-disabled, mainly female, Global North voices that have determined what social work looks like and how it is carried out across the world. However, this is changing. Today, many more ‘lions’ are telling their stories, as this article demonstrates. Through the curated narratives of Bob, Doug and Rose, as well as that of their storyteller/collaborator, Viv, we learn that growing up in care in Scotland in the 1940s and 1950s was ‘confused and confusing’ for the children at the heart of it. Contradictory discourses competed for dominance, and the children experienced unintended consequences from the ‘care’ they received. While not attempting to universalise on the basis of three people’s stories, this article believes that they have much to teach social work.

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Viviene E. Cree
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Journal article - open access
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