Child Protection Discussion Forum
About Heather Piper
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Dr Heather Piper is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of
Education, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Following a ‘career’ which included being a nanny, pub work, selling,
travelling, and more, I became a senior social work practitioner
and worked for a social services department and later a major charity
in a number of child protection, mental health, and inter-agency
Life as a researcher happened more or less serendipitously when
I was invited to work on a project focussing on inter-agency child
protection practice, my ‘specialism’ at that time (1994/5). This
initial project was quickly followed by others in South Cheshire
and the North West region; many of which were multi agency funded.
I soon caught the research bug and have latterly been found working
on a number of more substantial projects.
My interests are varied, but remaining faithful to my early professional
training tend to lie in the borderlands between the educational
and social. My ‘voice’ in research practice and academic writing
has an ethical imperative and is perhaps best typified by a contrarian
approach, a broad based and eclectic territory in sociology, philosophy,
social policy, and independent study; and a sensitivity to inter-professional
concerns, sometimes at odds with the academy. This usually involves
critiquing problematic aspects of theory, policy, and practice in
contested areas of education and social policy, especially contradictions
and confusions that are apparent in rhetoric at policy level, and
which are often evident in common parlance.
I take issue with the use of negative and blaming labels (and
hence unhelpful categorisation) in order to challenge key taken
for granted assumptions held by those claiming to be concerned with
inclusionary practice; I challenge myths and taboos which serve
to perpetuate dominant stories which silence the interests of the
least powerful members of society. In order to achieve these aims,
my work is characterised by an indifference to disciplinary boundaries.
From my critical position somewhere on the borders it has been possible
to produce quite controversial work (eg challenging governmental
approaches to disaffection, mentoring and volunteering; questioning
the alleged distinctive nature of male and female violence; identifying
issues for education for citizenship stemming from the monarchy;
and asking uncomfortable questions about current policy and practice
in relation to professionals touching children).
For more information about Heather's work see: http://www.ioe.mmu.ac.uk/staff/profile.php?
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