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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Mark Smith

Mark Smith
Dr Mark Smith
Head of Social Work; Senior Lecturer
2.02 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 650 4637
Research Interests
Youth, Memory, identity, Narrative Inquiry, Feminist ethics, reconciliation, archival research, Scotland, social work history, Gender and Violence, Social Work, social pedagogy, moral panics, historical child abuse, residential child care

Guidance and Feedback Hours

Monday 3pm - 5pm or by arrangement


Head of Social Work, Senior Lecturer

I teach across the social work programmes, particularly on Ethics and on the political and organisational context of social work.

Research Interests

I have research and writing interests across a wide range of residential child care policy and practice, especially around concepts of care and upbringing. I have a particular interest in European models of social pedagogy and in applying these in a Scottish context.

I have completed an ESRC funded Knowledge Exchange project on working with involuntary clients and have received further ESRC funding to work with the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian Councils to develop practice cultures in light of the findings of the recent Munro Review of Child Protection.

My current writing, with colleagues Viv Cree and Gary Clapton, is around moral panics, my own interest in this focussing on historical abuse in residential child care. This interest in moral panics is being taken forward through an ESRC funded seminar series and an edited book.

I was also involved in an ERASMUS Lifelong Learning project funded through the EC to develop training materials looking at the interface of mental health and care in residential child care settings across six European countries.This European collaboration is ongoing.

I an lead (with Trish McCulloch from Dundee University) on a Scottish Universities Insight Institute knowledge exchange award to mobilise civic society in effecting changes to the criminal justice system

Career History

I worked and managed in residential school and care settings and in secure accommodation over a period of almost 20 years. In 2000 I moved to the University of Strathclyde to develop and teach the Masters in Advanced Residential Child Care, the first Masters level qualification for residential child care across the UK. I moved to The University of Edinburgh in 2005.




  • Cree, V.E., Clapton, G. and SMITH, M. (eds) (2015) Revisiting Moral Panics: Theory and Practice, Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Smith, M Fulcher, L and Doran, P. (2013) Residential Child Care in Practice: Making a Difference.  Bristol:  Policy Press
  • Smith, M. (2009) Rethinking Residential Child Care. Bristol:  Policy Press

Book chapters

  • Smith, M. (2013) '24 theories for social work: social pedagogy', in Martin Davies (Ed) (2013) Blackwell Companion to Social Work, 4th Edition, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
  • Smith, M. (2012) 'Social Work in Scotland' in Dictionary of Social Work and Social Care, J. Harris, J. and  V.White (eds), Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, M. (2012) 'The place that social work theory and other related theories play in residential child care work'. in Martin Davies (Ed) Social Work With Children and Families - From Policy to Practice, Basingstoke: MacMillan
  • Smith, M (2011)'Towards a European model? Changing social work identities in J. Forbes, and C. Watson (Eds) The transformation of children's services: Examining and debating the complexities of inter/professional working. London: Routledge
  • Smith, M. (2010) Camphill Schools in the context of Scottish residential child care in R. Jackson (Ed) Focus on Camphill. Edinburgh: Floris Books
  • Smith, M (2010) Gender in Residential Child Care in B. Featherstone, C-A Hooper, J. Scourfield, Jonathan and J. Taylor (eds.) (2100) Gender and Child Welfare in Society Chichester: Wiley

Papers in Assessed Journals

  • Cameron, C, Reimer, D & SMITH, M 2015, 'Towards a theory of upbringing in foster care in Europe' European Journal of Social Work.,
  • Smith, M and Cree, V. (2014) Social Work and Pornography: Some Ethical Considerations. Ethics and Social Welfare, DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2014.889735
  • Smith, M. (2013) Forgotten connections: reviving the concept of upbringing in Scottish child welfare Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care Vol.12, No.2
  • Smith, M (2013) Supporting Children's upbringing across the generations. Relational Child and Youth Care Practice Vol 26, No 4 pp 16-22
  • Smith, M., Wilkinson, H., Gallagher, M. (2013), '“It’s what gets through people’s radars isn’t it”: Relationships in social work and in knowledge mobilization', Contemporary Social Science, .
  • Clark, C., Smith, M. (2012), 'Changing Lives: what is really changing for Scottish social work?', European Journal of Social Work, Vol 15 (3) pp 313-330.
    DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2010.543892
  • Gallagher, M., Smith, M., Hardy, M., Wilkinson, H. (2012), 'Children and Families’ Involvement in Social Work Decision Making', Children & Society, 26: 74–85.
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00409.x
  • Cree, V.E., Clapton, G., Smith, M. (2012), 'The Presentation of Child Trafficking in the UK: An Old and New Moral Panic?', British Journal of Social Work, Published online: August 16, 2012.
    DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs120
  • Gallagher, M., Wilkinson, H., Smith, M. (2012), 'A collaborative approach to research and impact: lessons from a knowledge exchange project involving academics and social work practitioners', Evidence and Policy, Vol 8 (3) pp311 – 328.
    DOI: 10.1332/174426412X654040
  • Clapton, G., Cree, V.E., Smith, M. (2012), 'Moral Panics and Social Work: towards a sceptical view of UK child protection', Critical Social Policy, Published online before print September 6, 2012.
    DOI: 10.1177/0261018312457860
  • Smith, M. (2012), 'Social Pedagogy from a Scottish Perspective', International Journal of Social Pedagogy, Vol 1 (1).
  • Smith, M., Cree, V.E., Clapton, G. (2012), 'Time to be heard: Interrogating the Scottish Government's response to historical child abuse', Scottish Affairs, Vol. 78, Winter, 2012: 1-24.
  • Smith, M. (2011), 'Reading Bauman for Social Work', Ethics and Social Welfare, 5(1): 2-17.
    DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2011.546175
  • Smith, M., Gallagher, M., Wosu, H., Stewart, J., Cree, V.E., Hunter, S., Evans, S., Montgomery, C., Holiday, S., Wilkinson, H. (2011), 'Engaging with Involuntary Service Users in Social Work: Findings from a Knowledge Exchange Project', British Journal of Social Work, 1–18.
    DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcr162
  • Steckley, L., Smith, M. (2011), 'Care Ethics in Residential Child Care: A Different Voice', Ethics and Social Welfare, 5 (2) 181-195.
  • Gallagher, M., Smith, M., Wosu, H., Stewart, J., Hunter, S., Cree, V.E., Wilkinson, H. (2011), 'Engaging with families in child protection: lessons from practitioner research in Scotland', Child Welfare, pp117-134.
  • Smith, M. (2010), 'Victim Narratives of Historical Abuse in Residential Child Care: Do We Really Know What We Think We Know?', Qualitative Social Work, 9(3): 303-320.
    DOI: 10.1177/1473325010367816
  • Smith, M. (2010), 'A brief history of (residential child care) ethics.', Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 9(2): 2-10.
  • Smith, M. (2009), 'Social work as social education: the possibilities of social pedagogy in Scotland', European Journal of Social Education, 16/17: 229-239.
  • Smith, M., Whyte, B. (2008), 'Social Education and Social Pedagogy: Reclaiming a Scottish Tradition in Social Work', European Journal of Social Work, 11 (1): 15-28.
    DOI: 10.1080/13691450701357174
  • Smith, M. (2008), 'Historical Abuse in Residential Child Care: An Alternative View', Practice: Social Work in Action, 20 (1): 29 - 41.
    DOI: 10.1080/09503150701872265
  • Beerman, D.R., Smith, M. (2007), 'Shared heritage and differing values in child welfare services in Scotland and North Carolina', International Social Work, 50 (2): 157-170.
    DOI: 10.1177/0020872807073959
  • Smith, M. (2006), 'Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly’', Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 19 (4): 5-17.
  • Smith, M., Milligan, I. (2006), 'From Welfare to Correction: A Review of Changing Discourses of Secure Accommodation', Educational and Child Psychology, 23 (2): 75-86.
  • Smith, M. (2005), 'Applying Ideas from Learning and Teaching in Higher Education to Develop Professional Identity: The Case of the MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care', Child and Youth Care Forum, 34 (4): 261-279.
    DOI: 10.1007/s10566-005-4094-7
  • Smith, M., Milligan, I. (2005), 'The Expansion of Secure Accommodation in Scotland: In the Best Interests of the Child?', Youth Justice, 4 (3): 178-191.
    DOI: 10.1177/147322540400400303
  • Smith, M. (2005), ''We'll Call You Sir'', Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 18 (4): 21-31.
  • Smith, M., McKay, E., Chakrabarti, M. (2004), 'School Improvement in the Marketplace: The Case of Residential Special Schools', Improving Schools, 7: 61-69.
    DOI: 10.1177/1365480204042115
  • Smith, M., McKay, E., Chakrabarti, M. (2004), 'What Works for us - Boys' Views of Their Experiences in a Former List D School', British Journal of Special Education, 31 (2): 89-94.
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0952-3383.2004.00334.x
  • Smith, M. (2003), 'What About the Dads? Issues and Possibilities of Working with Men from a Child and Youth Care Perspective', Child and Youth Services, 25 (1/2): 149-167.
    DOI: 10.1300/J024v25n01_10
  • Smith, M. (2003), 'Boys to Men: Exploring Masculinity in Child and Youth Care', Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 16 (4): 12-21.
  • Smith, M. (2003), 'Towards a Professional Identity and Knowledge Base: Is Residential Child Care Still Social Work?', Journal of Social Work, 3 (2): 235-252.
    DOI: 10.1177/14680173030032007

Topics interested in supervising

I would be interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of residential child care, social pedagogy, social work ethics, organisational cultures in social work or moral panics or related subjects.

If you are interested in being supervised by Mark Smith, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Social Work; MSc (R) Social Work