Contesting doxa in social work education

Authored by: Liz Beddoe

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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Social work has traditionally inhabited the sociological position of seeing private troubles as experienced by individuals as often symptomatic of greater social problems more widely felt. Social work’s core commitment to social justice and human rights reinforces this position and is arguably what distinguishes social work from other professions (Weiss and Kaufman, 2006). However, the intensification of neoliberalism challenges the very core of social work. The focus on welfare austerity marketisation, globalisation and individual responsibility has served to accelerate inequality and marginalisation, “producing fabulous riches for some and terrible poverty for others” (Beck, 2000: 33). Austerity squarely places the cost of capitalism on the masses who “played no part in its creation” (Ferguson and Lavalette, 2013: 96). The social work profession struggles to retain its core values in the savagely reduced welfare state that has pushed millions of citizens into poverty.

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