Critical and Radical Social Work
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Looking back to look forward: a collaborative autoethnographic study of the effects of neoliberalism on social work practice, education and research

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  • 1 University at Albany, State University of New York, , USA
  • | 2 Miami University, , USA
  • | 3 Colorado State University, , USA
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Neoliberalism emerged as a powerful force across the globe, adding market-based pressures to social work practice, education and research. Using a collaborative autoethnographic approach, we reflected on neoliberalism’s impact on our professional and academic experiences in US-based social work. Disconnection characterised our collective experiences of neoliberal social work across practice, research and education. The effects of this collective disconnecting emerged in three themes: (1) commodification; (2) compliance; and (3) disillusionment. We offer recommendations on how the field of social work can resist neoliberalism’s effects and encourage: (1) recentring social work practice, education and research around social work values; (2) a strategic use of self to form connections between the personal and the professional; and (3) the adoption of collective impact as the model for social work education and research.

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  • 1 University at Albany, State University of New York, , USA
  • | 2 Miami University, , USA
  • | 3 Colorado State University, , USA

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