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Greek social work and the never-ending crisis of the welfare state

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Amid the unprecedented financial crisis in Greece, which began unfolding in 2010, a major radical reform of the welfare state was implemented. This reform was presented, by both mainstream academics and politicians, as a 'painful yet necessary' step due to the broader extraordinary sociopolitical circumstances that can only be compared to a 'state of emergency'. In this article we argue that, despite the dominant rhetoric about the urgency of these policies, they should be seen as a continuation and further acceleration of previous neoliberal changes in the welfare state. While showing the continuity of the structural reforms, we place particular emphasis on the devastating impact these have had on both social services and service users. In doing so, we use the experiences of frontline social workers who have been at the epicentre of the ongoing reforms, directly witnessing their catastrophic impact. In the light of these overwhelming experiences, Greek social workers have started challenging the orthodoxies of 'traditional' social work and engaged with an exploration of alternative forms of social work theory and practice (reconceptualisation).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 2013

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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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