Prevalence of Discriminating Discourses Towards Single Mothers in Hong Kong

Langjie “Kyle” He
PhD student, Department of Social Work
Hong Kong Baptist University

Hung Suet Lin, Profesor, Hong Kong Baptist University
Dr. Fung Kwok Kin, Hong Kong Baptist University


Studies suggested that helping professionals’ attitudes and cultural competences toward their clients are not as positive as expected. Further studies suggested that helping professionals still incorporate the negative dominant societal discourses (e.g.‘discourse of underclass’, ‘discourse of dependency’ and others) towards disadvantaged service users (including lone mothers). Focusing on the lone mothers in an Asian city of Hong Kong, to what are these kinds of discriminating, or dominant discourse incorporated attitudes prevalent among helping professionals? This study aims at filling the research gap in determining the prevalence of such discriminating attitudes among helping professionals in Hong Kong. In addition, how the helping professionals construct their professional attitudes toward the lone mothers will be examined. The study adopted critical discourse analysis (cf. Fairclough, 2003, 2016), with collections of related literature and policy documents (covered period: 1997-2020), specifying the different textual components of the identified discourses and their inter-textual relationship with the dominant discourse.

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