Hannah Jobling

BA (Hons) Social Work, MRes Social Work (York), PhD (York)

  • Lecturer in Social Work
  • Programme Lead for Postgraduate Social Work programmes (qualifying and non-qualifying)

Visit Hannah Jobling's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • Mental health law, policy and practice
  • Social work with young people
  • The policy-practice relationship
  • Critical realism
  • Qualitative research methods
  • The history of social work

Academic biography

I joined the department in July 2014 after working for 16 years in social care in the UK, Australia and South Africa with a variety of groups, including young people, people with learning difficulties and refugees. I qualified as a social worker in 2009 and went on to practice in youth justice.

My PhD (completed in 2016) used a critical realist framework for an ethnographic study of mental health policy in action – specifically how compulsory community care is enacted and experienced by practitioners and service users, and with what consequences.   I won the 2015 inaugural prize for outstanding publication based on doctoral research, awarded by the European Association of Social Work Research.

My experiences in practice and research – particularly in fields where individuals are compelled to engage with services - have led to an enduring interest in how social work practitioners negotiate the various policy mandates and pressures that are placed upon them as the mediator between individuals and society, and in particular how this impacts on the work they do, and their relationships with service users.  Similarly, I am interested in how service users respond to and navigate the experience of compulsion. 

Most recently I have been working on research projects in relation to how social work services are responding to the challenges of austerity, and on the history of social work as a profession and discipline.



Professional activities

  • Member of the Mental Health Qualitative Research Network


I teach on the MA and BA in social work, focusing on social work with young people, mental health, social policy and social work.



Research labels

  • Childhood, youth and family
  • Mental health
  • Crime

PhD supervision interests

Mental health social work and services; social work with young people, particularly young people within the youth justice system; the operation of power and the use of coercion and compulsion; discretion and decision-making in practice; ethical frameworks for practice; qualitative research methods, particularly ethnography; critical realist approaches; the translation of policy into practice; service development in local government; history of social work and welfare more generally.


Books and journal articles

Jobling, H. (2016). Local policy in a global context: regimes of risk in mental health policy and practice – the case of Community Treatment Orders.  In Evans, T. and Keating, F. (eds) Policy and Social Work Practice, London: Sage.

Jobling, H. (2016). What counts as ‘counter-conduct’? A governmental analysis of resistance in the face of compulsory community care.  In Fenger, M., Hudson J. and Needham, C. (eds). Social policy review 28: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2016. Bristol: Policy Press.

Research report - Shaw, I., Jobling, H., Jang, I., Czarnecki, S. and Ramatowski, A. (2016). The British Journal of Social Work: A Case Study of Applied Scholarship. Final Report.  For the British Association of Social Workers, the British Journal of Social Work Editorial Board and Oxford University Press, and funded by BASW.

Wenham, A., Jobling, H. and Brooks-Wilson, S. (2016).  A review of intensive supervision and surveillance: young people and practitioner’s perspectives.  Final report.  For City of York Council and funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. 

Journal article – Hardy, M. and Jobling, H. (2015).  Beyond power/knowledge: developing a framework for understanding knowledge ‘flow’ in international social work, European Journal of Social Work, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 525-542.

Jobling, H., (2014), Using ethnography to explore causality in mental health policy and practice, Qualitative Social Work, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 49-68.


Contact details

Hannah Jobling
Lecturer in Social Work, Programme Lead for Postgraduate Social Work programmes (qualifying and non-qualifying)

Tel: 01904 321255