Politics and 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:
Politics and social work

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This chapter revisits the relationship between politics and social work in the United Kingdom. It untangles the complexities of the politicisation of social work and its consequences, arguing that in many respects the debate misses a more fundamental problem. Focusing on the extent to which social work is political obscures the fact that, in contemporary society, politics has become social work. Intervening in the minutiae of individuals' lives has long been the concern of social work in its various guises. Increasingly, though, the state, via health and social care initiatives, is encroaching ever further into this terrain. It is in this sense that rather than a re-politicisation of social work, a depoliticisation is suggested. For those concerned with social problems today and wishing to create the conditions for social change, we do need to foster a climate where commonalities can be forged and relationships developed. There is no need to politicise social work. That was done many years ago. Today the task is to get politics out of social work and therapy out of politics.

Keywords: United Kingdom; social work; politics; depoliticisation; social problems; social change

Chapter.  4011 words. 

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