Boundaries and Relationships in Homelessness Work: Lola, an Agency Manager


  • Tom Wengraf Middlesex University



professional, perspective, biography, vocation, boundary-maintenance, defended self, holistic care, clients, BNIM, relationships, feed­back, conditionality, theory-in-use


The professional is also a human being. This paper explores the complementary and con­tra­dictory relation between biography and vocation in the history of a nurse who became a social work manager, as revealed in a biographic-narrative interview. It touches on the difficulties of providing insights to the interviewee in the form of feedback in a case-study paper of this kind, interpreting this difficulty through the concept of 'defended sub­jectivity', and on the theory-in-use in social work and professional training. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0401132


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Author Biography

Tom Wengraf, Middlesex University

Tom WENGRAF is visiting senior lecturer in social research methods at Middlesex University, UK and visiting senior research fellow at the University of East London, UK. He has undertaken fieldwork on agrarian reform in Algeria, on student experience and on social exclusion in Britain, and is currently involved in a mixed method evaluation of the work with older people of a healthy living community centre in East London. With Prue CHAMBERLAYNE, he runs occasional training courses in biographic-narrative methods (BNIM).




How to Cite

Wengraf, T. (2004). Boundaries and Relationships in Homelessness Work: Lola, an Agency Manager. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(1).