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Crisis, austerity and the future(s) of social work in the UK

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In response to the current global crisis of capitalism, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government in the United Kingdom has imposed a policy of 'austerity', which seeks to shift the costs of that crisis onto the poorest sections of the population while seeking also to undermine the post-war welfare settlement. This article will explore the implications of that restructuring of welfare for social work. Even before the onset of the crisis, however, there was considerable dissatisfaction, both governmental and professional, with the forms of social work that had developed since the market-led reforms of the early 1990s. The article will critically assess official responses to that dissatisfaction before exploring more radical responses, including the need for a new collectivism in social work theory and practice.
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Keywords: AUSTERITY; COLLECTIVISM; PERSONALISATION; POPULAR SOCIAL WORK; SOCIAL WORK PRACTICES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 2013

More about this publication?
  • 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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