Social work in extremis – disaster capitalism, ‘social shocks’ and ‘popular social work’

Michael Lavalette

in Social work in extremis

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427182
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303558 | DOI:
Social work in extremis – disaster capitalism, ‘social shocks’ and ‘popular social work’

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This book explores ‘social work in extremis’, focusing on case studies that look at social work responses in ‘extreme’ or crisis situations. It discusses what social work institutions, social workers and community activists do during episodes of war, military occupation, environmental disaster, forced migrations and political and economic restructuring. It examines the response of state social work and welfare institutions in these circumstances, the extent to which social work students and educators can engage with campaigning movements in post-crisis situations and alternative forms of ‘popular social work’ that can develop in the face of extreme circumstances. It suggests that, faced with crisis situations, there is an immediate requirement to establish a social work that can engage with communities and meet people's needs. Faced with these immediate needs, communities and social movements act to create an engaged popular social work. The book also provides a glimpse of a ‘popular social work’, one that is flexible, open, reliable, non-stigmatising and non-conditional and hence stands in sharp contrast to the worst practices and manifestations of ‘official’ social work.

Keywords: social work; crisis; social work institutions; social workers; community activists; war; military occupation; environmental disaster; forced migrations; welfare institutions

Chapter.  6466 words. 

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