Social work and the sociological imagination


One of the significant gaps in modern social work is the lack of an embedded ‘sociological imagination’: one that irrefutably draws the connection between private ills and public issues; one that debunks political rhetoric and deconstructs ideology. The connection between private ills (the suffering of a growing underclass) and public issues (as defined by the state) comes into sharper focus through the traditional Marxist idea that ‘base’ irredeemably impacts on ‘superstructure’. Applying this to the modern world reveals that neoliberalism has a profound effect on human lives and the manner and shape in which welfare regimes are constructed. Whenever neoliberal doctrines have been applied, inequalities grow tout court, the environment suffers and there is a much greater propensity for war as nation-states struggle to find new markets.

Neoliberalism is often portrayed as a quasi-science by its adherents. For example, it is argued that the market (working to a set of immutable laws) will perform best if left alone by government, that the rising tide of wealth will lift both yachts and sailing dinghies through the ‘trickledown effects’ of Friedman-esque macroeconomics. Such assumptions have failed abysmally in the face of tsunami-type economic decline. The myth of the free market was so palpably exposed when George Bush Jr was forced to bail out American banks to the sum of several hundred billion dollars following the most recent crash in the global economy. Yet, incredibly, this was justified by the argument that free marketeers must occasionally prop up the economy during periods of recession – that this had been part of neoliberal doctrines all along.

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 43 43 12
Full Text Views 6 6 0
PDF Downloads 2 2 0