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More than just a bracelet: the use of material symbolism to communicate love

International Journal of Social Pedagogy

UCL Press

Children, material culture, ethics of care

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      Abstract

      There is growing recognition of the place of love in residential care for children (Smith, 2009). This paper is a critical analysis of a range of existing research on residential child care as well as studies of material culture and of care relationships more broadly. It argues that, despite increasing regulation and surveillance, adults and children find ways to show and feel love in the context of residential care. Whilst love may be regarded as something to be avoided or indeed prohibited in an adult/child care setting these deep bonds find expression in the everyday life of the children’s home. By looking at love in this embodied way, the ‘realness’ of material things to assert connection and recognition of love (Layne, 2000) is examined. As Gorenstein (1996, p.8) suggests ‘objects…[are] the perfect vehicles for conveying themes that are not commonly accepted in a community’. The paper emphasises the recognition of these symbolic and metaphorical forms of communication in practice.

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Faculty of Social Science, University of Stirling, FK9 4LA and Senior Practitioner, Family Change, Perth and Kinross Council , Harley Place, Perth.
            Author notes

            About the author

            Ruth works part time at the University of Stirling where she teaches on the BA and MSc social work programmes. She is also pathway lead for the PG Cert in Advanced Practice Skills. Ruth works part time as a social worker and play therapist at Family Change, a resource provided by Perth and Kinross council to support children and families who have experienced complex trauma.

            Contributors
            Role: Dr, Role: Senior Lecturer
            Journal
            ijsp
            ijsp
            International Journal of Social Pedagogy
            IJSP
            UCL Press (UK )
            2051-5804
            1 December 2016
            : 5
            : 1
            : 34-50
            10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2017.04
            Edmond, R. (2016). More than just a bracelet: the use of material symbolism to communicate love. [Joint Special Issue, Love in Professional Practice]

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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            Pages: 16
            Categories
            Research Article

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