Journal Article

Social Work Responses to ‘New Labour’ in Continental European Countries

Walter Lorenz

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 31, issue 4, pages 595-609
Published in print August 2001 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Work Responses to ‘New Labour’ in Continental European Countries

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The re‐emergence of a majority of centre‐left governments in countries of the European Union was associated with the hope that, after the neo‐liberal attempts at its marginalization and de‐institutionalization, social work could regain a more valued position in society. There are indeed indications that the growth of the profession continues and that social work is returning to a more explicit and official role in national social policies. However, this tends to be associated with an expectation that social work would play its part in ‘activating’ the recipients of welfare benefits in the context of the New Left project of shifting from social rights to social obligations. The practical and political effects of this new agenda are, however, modified greatly by the prevailing ‘welfare cultures’ as well as the professional and academic discourses. This paper explores the dilemmas and opportunities for the social professions in Europe associated with the ‘pull’ to become incorporated into these new social policy agendas.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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