Critical ethnography, managed care, mental health, social work, professional authority


How social workers in managed mental health care settings exercise their professional authority may have profound consequences for the provision of ethical and value-based services to vulnerable populations. Building upon Gidden's theory of structuration, this article describes the use of critical ethnography as a specific research methodology that may support social workers in the exercise of their authority. This article examines the historical roots of critical ethnography and provides a detailed examination of its underlying assumptions and research procedures. The article concludes with a case example of a critical ethnography conducted within a managed mental health care setting.

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