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Emancipatory social work: opportunity or oxymoron

Jordan, Bill (2004) Emancipatory social work: opportunity or oxymoron. British Journal of Social Work, 34. pp. 5-19. ISSN 0045-3102

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This paper explores the extent to which social work can be said to have espoused a consistent and distinctive set of principles and values, particularly against the background of adaptation to the changing ideological agendas of government over the past 25 years. Against the context of globalization, it traces a quickening pace of individual rather than collective progress as the touchstone of public policy, with an increasing reliance on coercive measures to discipline those who fail to make the necessary or successful efforts on their own behalf. Social work's roots in nineteenthcentury individualism leaves it particularly vulnerable to co-option into this agenda but, the paper argues, approaches which pay lip-service to autonomy, choice and empowerment, which actually deal in rationing, risk assessment and enforcement, will end in frustration and failure. A way forward exists in a renewed emphasis upon the social dimension of problems and their resolution, together with a re-investment by social workers in the notions of membership, mutuality and democratic solidarity through which individual well-being can be negotiated

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: UoA 40 (Social Work and Social Policy and Administration) © BASW Trading Ltd 2004
Uncontrolled Keywords: emancipatory social work opportunity oxymoron
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 23:31


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