Chapter

Thatcherism: opportunities and challenges

Steve Rogowski

in Social work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847424488
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303527 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847424488.003.0003
Thatcherism: opportunities and challenges

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This chapter focuses on the premierships of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, together with their impact on social work in Britain. It discusses the New Right's application of classical liberal critiques of state action to contemporary issues of economic and social policy, including preferring market to public-sector approaches to welfare. Social workers were to feel the brunt of this changed political and economic climate. For example, in the late 1980s and 1990s, the introduction of managerialism from the private sector led to the beginnings of the deprofessionalisation of social work, especially in relation to older people, by the introduction of care management. As for methods, perhaps surprisingly, it was still possible to utilise community and group work as well as casework because of the influence of the Barclay Report (1982), which advocated community social work. Overall, however, the Thatcherite period witnessed the triumph of neoliberalism and/or the challenges from postmodernism. The chapter also outlines neoliberal philosophy or ideology, including the work of two key thinkers, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.

Keywords: Margaret Thatcher; John Major; social work; Britain; New Right; social policy; care management; neoliberalism; Friedrich Hayek; Milton Friedman

Chapter.  9670 words. 

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