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Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 672-686; doi:10.3390/socsci3040672

The Productive Uses of Conflict in Child Protection

School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria, Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 September 2014 / Published: 2 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [69 KB, uploaded 2 October 2014]


Some child protection cases exemplify a certain kind of cooperative interdependence, a consequence of the ways in which practitioners and clients are entangled. Client and practitioner are “stuck” with each other and need each other to succeed. There is also an intrinsic power imbalance that technique, ideology, and skill cannot hide and that has risks for the well-being and success of the practitioner-client relationship. There is also a risk to the practitioner of biases caused by successful influence. “Productive conflict,” defined as conflict under conditions of cooperative interdependence, may compensate for these challenges and lead to “integrative solutions.” In these cases the conflict itself is a kind of collaboration. View Full-Text
Keywords: child protection; social interdependence; productive conflict; metamorphic effects of power; child welfare practice child protection; social interdependence; productive conflict; metamorphic effects of power; child welfare practice
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Magnuson, D. The Productive Uses of Conflict in Child Protection. Soc. Sci. 2014, 3, 672-686.

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