Journal Article

Developing Anti-Oppressive Services for the Poor: A Theoretical and Organisational Rationale

Roni Strier and Sharon Binyamin

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 6, pages 1908-1926
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Developing Anti-Oppressive Services for the Poor: A Theoretical and Organisational Rationale

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The present article aims to encourage social services to adopt an anti-oppressive perspective in the development of services for people living in poverty, and proposes some theoretical and organisational considerations to transform these services. In the last three decades, neo-liberal and managerial ideologies have consistently favoured social policies that generate high levels of poverty, an anti-welfare political climate, punitive welfare reforms, periodic budgetary cutbacks and the subsequent decay of the social service sector. These processes impaired the capacity of many social services to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable constituencies. They also undermined the social workers' ability to fulfil some of their main social missions: promoting social change and pursuing social justice. The present article calls for social services for the poor to restore this fundamental social mission by adopting an anti-oppressive approach. The article is organised around three sections: first, it examines the relationship between poverty and oppression; second, it reviews the relevant literature on anti-oppressive organisations; and third, it lays down the theoretical and organisational principles of the development of anti-oppressive social services for the poor.

Keywords: Anti-oppressive social work; poverty; social exclusion; social services

Journal Article.  6640 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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