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- Author or Editor: Paul Michael Garrett x
- Diversity and Anti-Oppressive Practice x
Social work education and interventions with Black African families are frequently impaired because of structural discrimination, racism and the structuring priorities of neoliberalism.
Rooted in rich and fascinating empirical work with practitioners and educators, this urgent, scholarly and accessible book emphasises that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Intent on nurturing more progressive and pluralistic practices in pedagogy and practice, the book is a timely and significant contribution seeking to re-make social work approaches to issues of ‘race’, racism and social justice.
Drawing on Raymond Williams’ approach, the article examines ‘welfare dependency’ as one of the most pernicious ‘keywords’ in neoliberal discourse and encourages those located within the field of social work to be sceptical about its uncritical usage. Bolstered by conservative scholarship, the forging of a new ‘common sense’ on welfare may have contributed to the harsh public perceptions referred to in a significant British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey. Problematising the widespread usage of ‘welfare dependency’, the article provides a critical resource for social work educators, practitioners, students and users of services.
It has been categorically asserted that Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy, dwelling on accepting responsibility for the ‘Other’, can be used to bolster the theorisation of ‘critical social work’. Furthermore, a number of social work academics maintain that his complex contributions create a new framework for working across ‘differences’. In contrast, this article will challenge these assertions, shedding light on an array of deeply problematic aspects of Levinas’s philosophy and politics. These have so far been omitted in the way he has been presented to a social work readership. Particular attention will be paid to Levinas’s self-proclaimed Euro-centrism and racist condescension toward those beyond Europe. The discussion will then turn to explore his ethnic nationalism which functions to conceptually misrecognise, disrespect and discursively delete Palestinians.
In 2010 it became apparent that no reliable data were available on the deaths of children in contact with social workers in the Republic of Ireland. As a result of this lacuna, in 2011–12, the Independent Child Death Review Group (ICDRG) and the National Review Panel (NRP) published official reports tabulating and partly describing these deaths. A close reading of the reports indicates that practitioner involvement is frequently enmeshed in factors associated with neoliberal imperatives connected to unfilled vacancies, related staffing problems and the rationing and curtailment of services. Following the appearance of the reports, an emerging ‘change agenda’, partly influenced by New Labour in the UK, has sought to chart a way forward. Nevertheless, given that the state remains committed to a more embracing programme of intensive neoliberalisation, efforts seeking ‘reform’ are likely to fail.
The article stresses the continuing significance of keyword-anchored theorising in critical social work. Paying particular attention to England and Wales, the focus is on care as a keyword. Care is central within a range of discourses impinging on social work and social policy in connection with the evolution of community care, the long-term care of the increasing proportions of older people, the treatment of children and young people in the public care system, and debates about unpaid carers. While not claiming to be exhaustive, the article maintains that dwelling on care, as a keyword, can illuminate how, at least, three connected dimensions are significant: care and neoliberal globalism; care and neoliberal labour processes; and care, commodification and corruption.
Marxism is frequently regarded in a disdainful and dismissive way in social work education. However, often drawing on Marx’s own words, this article argues that many of his focal ideas have continuing resonance for contemporary social work. Three key themes are briefly examined: Marx’s analysis of labour and working lives in a capitalist society; neoliberalism and the voraciousness of capital; and the role of the state and dominating ideology. Finally, the discussion will turn from theory to praxis, illustrating how practitioners and educators within the field of social work might endeavour not only to ‘interpret’ the world, but also to ‘change’ it.
Noting current postcolonial critiques and endeavours to ‘decolonise the university’ and its various disciplines, the article points to the importance of the work of Frantz Fanon and especially his Studies in a dying colonialism and The wretched of the earth. The focus is on Fanon’s interrogation of the use of the veil in Algeria and how he perceived that, subject to ongoing revolutionary turbulence, family relations were being progressively transformed. Moreover, it is suggested that his views on violence warrant further exploration than is ordinarily provided in mainstream and conventional accounts of his work. While pessimistic, Fanon’s concerns about the evolution of postcolonial societies were also timely and prescient.
In this chapter it is argued that it is important to acknowledge that what we might term ‘Afro-Hibernian lifeworlds’ are pluralistic and social work services must begin to engage with those inhabiting and creating such worlds in a much more nuanced and informed way. In short, there is a need to evolve more intellectually curious, rigorous, pluralistic forms of social work inquiry and practice. Hence, those committed to promoting more progressive and benign forms of social work education must aspire to reform their dominant paradigms and ways of working.
In this chapter the authors dwell on social work in Ireland in the context of the activities of the Black Lives Matter movement and the launch of the Irish Association of Social Workers’ ‘Anti-Racism Strategy’ in February 2021. The chapter is empirically grounded and the authors illuminate some of the views of social work practitioners and educators. More specifically, the focus is on their perceptions in relation to four main themes: social work education and theoretical perspectives; praxis; organisational structures within the capitalist racial state; neoliberalism.
Along with Chapter 4, this is the book’s most fascinating, and perhaps challenging, chapter. The authors explain, synthesise and distil a complex body of theory. Their discussion explores figures located in the western European canon (Gramsci, Foucault and Bourdieu). They then move on to engage with the critique launched from the Global South by Boaventura de Sousa Santos. The chapter concludes by explaining the core elements of critical race theory and critical whiteness theory.