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Social work and Marxism: a short essay on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx

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Marxism is frequently regarded in a disdainful and dismissive way in social work education. However, often drawing on Marx's own words, this article argues that many of his focal ideas have continuing resonance for contemporary social work. Three key themes are briefly examined: Marx's analysis of labour and working lives in a capitalist society; neoliberalism and the voraciousness of capital; and the role of the state and dominating ideology. Finally, the discussion will turn from theory to praxis, illustrating how practitioners and educators within the field of social work might endeavour not only to 'interpret' the world, but also to 'change' it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 August 2018

This article was made available online on 26 July 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Social work and Marxism: a short essay on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx".

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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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