'Problematics of Government', (post) modernity and social work

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147 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: This paper attempts to locate contemporary developments and tensions in social work within current debates in social theory concerning the problematics of government and (post) modernity. It argues that modern social work emerged in a period of 'welfarism' which has now passed and that as a consequence social work has not simply been restructured in the era of neo-liberalism but is exposed as an activity particularly concerned with managing family life via the exercising of moral judgements and negotiating responsibilities. As a consequence the essential ambiguities of social work are more self evident than previously, and rather than constituting problems to be overcome, articulate the central elements of what it is to do social work. The article concludes by, tentatively, outlining the implications of such an analysis and how it may help us to understand what is going on and how we might proceed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-32
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1994
Externally publishedYes


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