In Sweden, the gap between prosperity and poverty has increased over the last three decades. As a result, groups of youth are forced to live a strictly limited life in segregation and poverty. Youth living in these circumstances are often viewed as being at risk. The purpose of this article is to investigate how different professional groups – specifically, police officers, social workers and school health teams – talk about and describe the risks that young people face when growing up in disadvantaged urban areas and the various measures taken to deal with those they define as ‘youth at risk’. The results point towards how being at risk is made intelligible in relation to specific socio-spatial and institutional contexts. However, there is an overall tendency to individualise and situate problems within the youth themselves, thus making young people growing up in disadvantaged urban areas responsible for their own vulnerability.
This article delineates the importance of critical social work understanding and engagement in social policy analysis and practice. Using a Marxist lens, we initially explore the context of globalisation and its challenges, and locate the contradictions inherent in capitalism for social policy, especially in a Latin American context. Our analysis considers the current capitalist and COVID-19 crisis, before reviewing the withdrawal of social policy in the reproduction of the workforce. We use Brazil as an example because, along with other Latin American countries, it has never witnessed the consolidation of government-supported, universal and comprehensive social policies to meet the needs of the entire population. We conclude that we continue to face a clash between capital and labour, which sets most global workers, especially those of underdeveloped countries, in a precarious, if not life-threatening, situation, and we highlight the importance for social work to engage critically with social policy.
The neo-liberalisation of social work has been heavily criticised, with value conflicts and different interpretations of the purpose of social work being key aspects of this. However, little research has considered the impact of the neo-liberalisation of social work on an individual level, understanding how this ideology impacts day-to-day practice. This article uses the imposter phenomenon as a proxy issue to understand the impact of neo-liberalism on social workers. Factors that contribute to, and diminish experiences of, the imposter phenomenon are identified, and links are made between these and the key aspects of neo-liberalism. Through establishing the impact of the imposter phenomenon on individuals, strategies to overcome this are suggested. However, it is argued that without structural and ideological development, the tensions within social work will remain.
Abortion restrictions most greatly impact people of the global majority and queer populations, and social work scholarship has repeatedly called for the profession to engage in a reproductive justice framework across all levels of practice. This article does not provide another tool created by a White scholar with privilege; instead, I encourage social workers to consider: what is radical informed consent, and how can we do it?
Critical realism, as expounded by Bhaskar, is a philosophy of social science that has been applied in social work scholarship addressing such areas as research methodology, practice interventions and programme evaluation. Most of these applications are based on the early rendition of the philosophy, with little attention given to Bhaskar’s later, more mature, development of dialectical critical realism. This article addresses this gap, describing how dialectic critical realism builds on the early iteration of the philosophy to account for emancipatory change in the social world. The contribution of dialectical critical realism to anti-oppressive social work is then considered through the articulation of six, interlinked steps of transformative change. Finally, the preceding meta-theoretical steps are applied to a fictitious case example involving a young person leaving care. The aim here is to show how the steps can be integrated within social work practice to stimulate positive change, human emancipation and well-being.
Professional ethics and values in social care have frequently been described as a site of active resistance against the incursion of neoliberal managerialism in social services. More recently, however, this view has been challenged by an emerging discourse that explicitly treats organisational values as measurable capital assets, exemplified in a growing literature around the concept of ‘ethical capital’. Drawing on data from an ethnographic study on ethics and values within the social care sector in the UK, this article argues that, in practice, the notion of treating values as quantifiable and measurable capital is a consequence of the necessity for organisations to capitalise every part of themselves in order to survive in an increasingly competitive funding market. However, instrumentalising professional ethics in the interest of market competition threatens to undermine its critical potential and to make any part of it that resists subsumption under market logic unintelligible within bureaucratic regimes of performance management.
This study reveals tensions between Jews and Arabs in the Israeli Social Workers’ Union, examining the characteristics, experiences and functioning of the Arab minority representatives over the years until the recent election of a new radical socialist-feminist leadership. Data were elicited from semi-structured in-depth interviews with Arab delegates to the union. It was found that the policies of the union’s institutions discriminate against Arab social workers in three dimensions: (1) under-representation in all its organs, including participation in paid staff in the headquarters and district offices; (2) lack of attention to Arab workers’ voice in the union’s published platforms; and (3) lack of consideration of Arab social workers’ unique needs in programmes more appropriate for Jews. The union fails in its role as the formal and exclusive representative of Arab social workers, who suffer from discriminatory government consideration, including unequal budgeting, lack of recognition and lack of participation in decision making.
Despite the global popularity of restorative justice that has emerged in recent decades, limited attention has been paid to restorative justice conferencing used with offending girls. This article critically analyses restorative justice practitioners’ views concerning gender-specific practice and outcomes in restorative justice conferencing used with girls who offend. It is argued that restorative justice policy and practice has developed in a gender-blind framework, which fails to recognise or respond to the gender-specific needs and experiences of girls who offend. Drawing upon empirical findings, the article conceptualises, through a feminist-informed framework, the practical and policy implications arising from the gender-blind approaches of restorative justice conferencing.