Dr Kathryn Mackay


Social Work Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Kathryn Mackay

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About me

I qualified as a social worker in 1984 and have worked in England and Scotland. After six years as a generic social worker, I specialised in mental health work and then became a community care team manager. I joined the University in 1997 as a teaching fellow and then became a lecturer in 2004, in order to pursue writing and research.  I am currently the Programme Director for the MSc. in Applied Social Studies and pathway lead for the post qualifying certificate in adult services, support and protection. My PhD by publication used the concepts of citizenship, discretion, choice; and ethics of care and of justice to explore how social workers support or limit service users' rights when they are subject to adult protection legislation. This has led to an interest in and publications about the possible impact of devolution on social work law and policy; choice in the context of harm; Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities. It has also led to a two year study, just completed, that explored the perspective of older people of safety and vulnerability in everyday life.

I have experience of being a carer for family members and of receiving short -term support myself. This has further motivated me to want to explore bigger questions around the intensification of market and managerial practices; and of the focus on the 'rational' and 'responsibilised' self in health and social care policies. My experience and concern is that these have increased the dissection of citizens into varied labelled components of need and the delivery of services into multi-staged processes. These produce unintended consequences that are often hidden and uncosted in evaluating the success of any policy initiative or discrete intervention programme.


BA in Public Administration with an Option in Social Work

MSc.in Applied Social Research
University of Stirling

Professional qualification

Certificate of Qualification in Social Work
Robert Gordon University