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Exploring the relationship between social work and the UK Government’s Prevent Strategy

Project Description

REF SHLS-20011 Webb

The focus of the proposed study is pathbreaking in its analysis of UK critical policy directions and its implications for social work practice. It is an innovative, interdisciplinary projects which builds on our research strengths in the area of critical social work. Proposals are sought which seek to understand the implications of the PREVENT policy for social work at both the macro and micro level through original and innovate research which is underpinned by a theoretically sophisticated and critical understanding of concepts of surveillance and securitization. The study would build on the substantial critical work and track record of David McKendrick, who will provide consultation and advice to the project.

The Prevent policy is a strand of the Governments Countering Violent Extremism (C.V.E) policy CONTEST. PREVENT is one strand of CONTEST and sits alongside three other areas of work known collectively as the four P’s: PREVENT: PROTECT: PURSUE: PREPARE. According to HM Government PREVENT aims to:
• Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it
• Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
• Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address
This research will examine how PREVENT is contentious on a number of fronts. It will focus on the ways in which PREVENT: (1) Operates from the basis of suspicion of individuals and communities rather than on notions of community cohesion; (2) Is a form of surveillance of “suspect communities”; (3) Embeds ideas about “pre-crime” and pre-criminal activities / spaces; (4) Unfairly targets Muslim communities and does not adequately represent risk posed by other groups e.g. domestic far right groups: (5) Intensifies anti Muslim racism: (6) Has a reductive effect on freedom of speech and expression: (7) Positions public servants as agents of the state involved in coercive and restrictive activities that do not sit well with the ethical nature of the profession: (8) Works in tandem with a narrative of securitisation which allows governments to act out-with accepted boundaries in its dealings with the wider population. (9) Pays little or no attention to the historical and contemporary influence of colonialism and imperialism and its impact on marginalised communities. The research will involve qualitative research methods, such as ethnographic research and controversy analysis.

The successful applicant will be a qualified to degree level in a relevant discipline. The minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above) is required. A masters level qualification is desirable as is previous research experience. Candidates should understand the context of social work practice within the UK. A strong grounding and / or understanding of sociologically informed theories is also preferred.

How to Apply
This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to:

Director of Studies Name: Professor Stephen Webb
GCU Research Online URL: (essential)

2nd Supervisor Name: Dr Sharon Jackson
GCU Research Online URL: (essential)

Mentee Name: Mr David McKendrick
Email: David
GCU Research Online URL: (essential)

Funding Notes

Exceptional candidates will be put forward for the scholarship competition. The Scholarship packages available include fully funded studentships and fees only scholarships. The fully funded studentships are worth £19,509 per year for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. They cover payment of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £15,009.

For further details on funding see View Website

How good is research at Glasgow Caledonian University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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