Politicising social work

Kenneth McLaughlin

in Social work, politics and society

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420459
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303572 | DOI:
Politicising social work

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This chapter examines the politicising of social work in the United Kingdom from the 1970s onwards, from the class-based critique of the radical social work movement to the influence of feminist and anti-racist writers, to the contribution to the debates and practices from disability activists as well as gay and lesbian campaigners. It highlights the influence of such perspectives on social work training and development and discusses the emergence of radical social work, standpoint theory, anti-racism and anti-oppression. It also explores how the overt politicisation of social work provoked much debate, hostility, policy and personnel changes, and led, according to some, to a dilution of social work's commitment to an egalitarian society, in effect leading to a depoliticisation of social work. Finally, the chapter considers the growth of social services departments and the politicisation of many within social work, along with the emergence and growth of trade unions in both size and importance.

Keywords: United Kingdom; social work; politicisation; social services departments; trade unions; radical social work; standpoint theory; anti-racism; anti-oppression

Chapter.  7242 words. 

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