Intensification, individualisation, inconvenience, interpellation

John Harris and Vicky White

in Modernising social work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420060
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302827 | DOI:
Intensification, individualisation, inconvenience, interpellation

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This book has examined specific dimensions of what modernising social work involves, some of which have attracted little attention to date. These dimensions are located within neo-liberalism; modernisation is, at base, a strategy for installing forms of policy and practice that are aligned with neo-liberalism's tenets, and stems from New Labour's ‘neo-liberal hard edge’. Modernisation has required ever-more detailed stipulations concerning the content and process of social workers' practice through performance management. Both the ends and the means of modernisation promote a vision of social work that seeks to massage away the tensions and dilemmas raised in day-to-day social work by difficult political and ethical questions with the balm of ‘technical’, ‘objective’, ‘neutral’ managerialism. Given the likely staying power of neo-liberalism as a political ideology for the foreseeable future, this chapter draws out themes from the preceding chapters that are likely to signify the terrain on which ongoing issues in the modernisation of social work will be played out. These are the intensification of work, individualisation of service users, inconvenience of discretion, and inscription or interpellation.

Keywords: New Labour; intensification; individualisation; inconvenience; interpellation; neo-liberalism; modernisation; social work; performance management; managerialism

Chapter.  3057 words. 

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