After more than a year living with COVID-19 restrictions, the UK Governments have now published their ‘recovery strategies’ in which social care has been considered as key to plans for post-COVID-19 recovery in England and the devolved nations. Emerging literature has already explored the ethical and practical challenges facing social workers during COVID-19 and how social work practice has been re-created to embrace hybrid ways of working. To add to this discussion, a secondary qualitative data analysis was performed on a subset of data (280 responses submitted by 176 social workers) collected from the British Association of Social Workers’ (BASW) survey on social work during COVID-19, to explore how social workers’ sensual bodies had been responding to challenges arising from the pandemic. Drawing on sociology of senses and social work literature on tacit knowing and practice wisdom, we will present how social workers’ sensual bodies have been suspended, displaced and re-constituted during the first UK national lockdown, leading to sensual compensation and sensual overload that impacted on social workers’ practice. In striving towards a ‘better normal’, we offer key insights to implement hybrid social work practice and protect against the shortfalls that it might bring to the profession.
Kong, S., Noone, C., & Shears, J. (2022). Social Workers’ Sensual Bodies during COVID-19: The Suspended, Displaced and Reconstituted Body in Social Work Practice. The British Journal of Social Work, 52(5), 2834-2853. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcab207