A striking new feature of the welfare systems in many Western countries is the extent to which market relations have permeated social services. Conceptions of 'risk management' now dominate the way parents and children are responded to, while new technologies aim to 'measure' their relationship with state service providers. Bureaucratic control is increasing, while resources are reduced. These factors have led to the demise of the traditional role of the social worker as one who engages with the client in a supportive encounter. Professional competence within social work is increasingly tied to 'mastering' scientific knowledge and new technical skills. The result of collaboration between authors from Canada, Britain and Australia, Social Work in a Corporate Era offers a critical overview of these developments and their implications. It provides a re-evaluation of the assumptions and practices of the critical social work tradition and explores the possibility of rebuilding an 'emancipatory' social work. The authors aim to disentangle the debate between Marxism, feminism and anti-racism, in the context of both postmodern challenges and the corporate restructuring of the welfare state. Calling for the development of a new politics of social work practice, this book addresses many of the urgent issues facing welfare state practitioners in health and social services today.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction. Theory, Reflection, Emotion: The uses of theory and the problems of pessimism, Peter Leonard; Critical reflection and transformative possibilities, Jan Fook; Post-theories for practice: challenging the dogmas, Nigel Parton; Subject-to-subject: reclaiming the emotional terrain for practice, Linda Davies and Sara Collings. Cultural Politics, Language, Collectivity: Whose side are you on? politicized identities, Michele Gnanamuttu; Texts and power: toward a critical theory of language, Anthony Paré; The reprofessionalization of social work: collaborative approaches for achieving professional recognition, Karen Healy and Gabrielle Meagher. Narrative, Critical Consciousness, Emancipation: Older women negotiating uncertainty in everyday life: contesting risk management systems, Amanda Grenier; Disrupting the narrative of white tutelage: reflections on post-colonial social work education, Laura Mastronardi; Social work practice and research as an emancipatory process, Kamal Fahmi; A concluding reflection, Linda Davies and Peter Leonard; Index.
Linda Davies is Associate Professor and Peter Leonard is Professor at the School of Social Work, McGill University, Canada.
’An excellent text that takes a critical stand on the position social work occupies in Western countries...a must-read book for those who view social work with a critical eye.’ Community Care