The Structure of Social Work

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Constructing the Social, Constructing Social Work

Harlow, Elizabeth (Routledge, 2017-06-06)

Over recent times, social work has faced many challenges. This chapter does not focus on these challenges, but takes them into account when giving consideration to the construction of the profession in general, and the welfare regime of which it is a part. In giving consideration to this construction, the meaning of the ‘social’ component of ‘social work’ is deemed to be important to the identity of the profession, along with the socio-economic context from which it emerged, and to which it currently belongs. This theoretical foundation calls into question the essentialism of a fixed professional identity, but it also assumes that there is a body of practice known as social work which, over time has become associated with some prevailing features. A chronological approach to the construction of social work is taken and then a case study is offered. A concluding discussion follows on from the case study.

Neoliberalism, managerialism and the reconfiguring of social work in Sweden and the United Kingdom

Harlow, Elizabeth; Berg, Elizabeth; Barry, Jim; Chandler, John (SAGE, 2013-07-01)

This paper considers some of the ways in which neoliberalism, through the processes of managerialism, has impacted on the occupation of social work in Sweden and the UK. It is argued that there are similar implications in both countries, through the managerial drive for increased performance in economy, efficiency and effectiveness, but also in the development of evidence based practice. Whilst the key focus of the paper is on similarities between these two countries, differences are also noted. There is also recognition of the way in which resistance to the reconfiguration of social work is taking shape.