In this article, I explore how emotions are displayed and dealt with on a communicative level in face-to-face encounters between social workers and parents in a child welfare setting. The analysis draws upon detailed analysis of a whole encounter between a social worker and a parental couple who have recently had their new-born daughter placed in foster care. By examining the way emotional stances are expressed and responded to I discuss how orientations toward institutional tasks and goals create constraints for the display, recognition and validation of clients’ emotion displays. I consider the communicative challenges this poses for the parents and the social worker and the implications these may have for the client–worker relationship.
- children and youth
- social work and social conditions