Which Blair Project?: Communitarianism, Social Authoritarianism and Social Work

Journal of Social Work (Impact Factor: 1). 04/2001; 1(1):7-19. DOI: 10.1177/146801730100100102


This article provides an analysis of the current ideological and political context through which the nature and identity of social work are being constructed. The analysis briefly traces the development of social policy during the Conservative administrations in the UK between 1979 and 1997: and then a more detailed analysis is undertaken of the period since 1997 under the New Labour government of Tony Blair.

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    • "Although social work has traditionally juggled the tension between social control and empowerment of the oppressed, it seems that contemporary neoliberal orthodoxy has significantly altered this balance (Gray and Webb, 2013). Arguably, social work in New Zealand and in comparable societies is increasingly designed for the efficient containment of problem populations rather than the advancement of social equality (Butler and Drakeford, 2001; Jensen and Tyler, 2015; Stanley and Guru, 2015). The strained (and constrained) practice environment that has resulted from these developments is succinctly described by Cree (2013: 154): "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016
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    • "In this process, successive British governments, particularly Blair's administration, have been the keenest adherents of this general approach. The result has been the introduction a raft of measures (Butler & Drakeford, 2001) which were aimed at using social policy as a means imposing societal norms on the marginalised. This was a conscious political move. "
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    ABSTRACT: Professor Loic Wacquant was born in Montpelier in 1960. He was educated in France before completing a Ph.D. in Chicago in 1994. He is currently Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. His work is concerned with the impact of neoliberalism in the area of welfare and penal policy. Wacquant has published a number of highly influential books the most notable of which are Les Prisons de la misère (1999, translated in 20 languages; new and expanded English edition, Prisons of Poverty, 2009), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2000), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008) and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (2009). These works, along with the major papers listed in the bibliography, form the core of Wacquant's analysis of the impact of neoliberal welfare and penal policy. These papers consider three key areas: advanced marginality, race (ethno-racial domination) and the rise of the penal state. His significance as a commentator for social work, specifically, lies in his critical engagement with these three areas that have so shaped the development of modern welfare and penal policy. The article concludes that Wacquant's work provides a clear analytical framework for the study of the organisational and social contexts of contemporary practice. His work also calls for a more politically engaged social work practice—a form of practice that will move away from social work as a narrow bureaucratic activity dominated by risk management and return to core social work values.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · European Journal of Social Work
    • "This has seen 'New Labour' governments extend the project of restructuring the relationship between the state and its citizens initiated by New Right Conservatives (Jordan, 2005). Social services, once envisaged as the province of a universal citizenship are now mere supports for the irresponsible (Butler and Drakeford, 2001; Harris, 2002). Despite this, there has been very little This leads us to argue that a Foucauldian analysis of power relations needs to explore the forms of governmentality that regulate and manage the everyday lives of citizens. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper explores relations of power in social work using insights drawn from the critical 'toolkit' emanating from work of French philosopher, Michel Foucault. The article discusses the relationship between Foucault's conceptual tools of 'knowledge and power', the emergence of 'the modern subject' and the concept of 'governmentality'. Despite ongoing pressures, professional power persists as a foundational element surveillance restricts practice however; on the other complexity opens the space for resistance and new formulations of power relations. important implications for how vulnerable
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
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