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Social work in the teeth of a gale: a resilient counter-discourse in neoliberal times

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This article discusses the findings of a qualitative research project in Auckland, New Zealand, which examined the proposition that a particular form of knowledge is produced in the practice of social work. Evidence consistent with Philp's conceptualisation of a specific knowledge form for social work emerges from analysis of the data. It is apparent that the everyday practice of social work continues to engage with the lived experience of marginalised citizens in New Zealand and similar societies. It is argued that this process of relational engagement continues to produce a discourse of equality that is consistent with the politics of social democracy. The implications of the findings of this study are discussed in relation to the future development of social work practice and education given the current dominance of a neoliberal governance paradigm that is largely hostile to the inclusive discourse that social work practice inevitably produces.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 2016

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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