Social work education and the challenge of neoliberal hegemony

Authored by: Jane Fenton

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138578432
eBook ISBN: 9781351264402
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter begins with the hypothesis that younger social workers and students struggle to critically understand the hegemonic neoliberal political context. This is important because social workers who cannot understand or critique this ideology are in danger of colluding with it and, thus, perpetuating its oppressive and punitive consequences. Monbiot (2016) discusses the idea that neoliberalism is not recognised by the public in general, and states:

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?


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