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Words matter: deconstructing 'welfare dependency' in the UK

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Drawing on Raymond Williams' approach, the article examines 'welfare dependency' as one of the most pernicious 'keywords' in neoliberal discourse and encourages those located within the field of social work to be sceptical about its uncritical usage. Bolstered by conservative scholarship, the forging of a new 'common sense' on welfare may have contributed to the harsh public perceptions referred to in a significant British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey. Problematising the widespread usage of 'welfare dependency', the article provides a critical resource for social work educators, practitioners, students and users of services.
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Keywords: ANTONIO GRAMSCI; COMMON SENSE; LAWRENCE MEAD; RAYMOND WILLIAMS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 November 2015

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  • An International Journal

    Critical and Radical Social Work is an exciting new journal that will promote debate and scholarship around a range of engaged social work themes. The journal publishes papers which seek to analyse and respond to issues, such as the impact of global neo-liberalism on social welfare; austerity and social work; social work and social movements; social work, inequality and oppression, and understanding and responding to global social problems (such as war, disasters and climate change).

    It welcomes contributions that consider and question themes relating to the definition of social work and social work professionalism, that look at ways in which organic and 'indigenous' practice can expand concepts of the social work project and that consider alternative and radical histories of social work activity. As a truly international journal it actively encourages contributions from academics, scholars and practitioners from across the global village.

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