Homelessness, Social Work, Social Policy and the Print Media in Australian Cities
Homelessness is a significant social problem worldwide. This paper describes an Australian study that examined print media representations of homelessness and social work, social policy and social work responses to homelessness in three Australian cities. The research included a content analysis of seven Australian newspapers and semi-structured interviews with 39 social workers employed in the field of homelessness in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The detailed results of these studies have been published separately elsewhere. This paper reports on how discourses in the print media, social policy and social work practice co-exist in constructing homelessness as a particular social problem, influencing social work responses to homelessness. The research found that individualism is central to many dominant discourses evident in the print media, social policy and social work practice, and that social work is practiced within unequal power relations embedded in organisational contexts.