Having established the nature of the distinctive perspectives discussed previously, it is important to move on to understand some of the issues which arise from their interaction. Inevitably, as we have seen, the ‘pure’ value positions identified come into conflict in certain key respects. It is necessary, for practical purposes, to try to develop a clearer understanding of the origin, nature and implications of these clashes. Most of us either work within, or feel a distinct affinity for one or other of the perspectives. Social work students, for example, appear to align themselves with the ‘children’s rights’ and ‘family support’ positions. The consequence of these choices, of course, is that the underlying logic of a particular orientation may seem more persuasive, and will, in turn, have a specific influence on professional judgements and practice. The degree of certainty which underlies our choices may, to some extent, be based on presupposition, rather than evidence or reasoned argument. We are, therefore, likely to gain a degree of insight from taking a step back to reflect on the way in which such ‘commonsense’ understandings become established, in the form of paradigms and discourses.
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