Article

The neoliberal turn in Chilean social work: frontline struggles against individualism and fragmentation

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Abstract

In Chile, the right-wing dictatorship (1973–1990) implemented the first neoliberal ‘experiment’ in the world, affecting the development of social work in a traumatic way. More than 40 years after the coup, the inheritance from the dictatorship appears to still be blocking discussion and implementation of critical perspectives in social work. The inception of the Social Protection System in 2000 has contributed to reinforcing depoliticised and individually oriented approaches of social workers’ interventions. However, practices of resistance to this apparent hegemonic order can also be detected and identified within social work. Drawing upon preliminary findings of an exploratory-sequential study, this article analyses the way in which neoliberal ideology has impacted contemporary Chilean social work and illuminates strategies employed by many in the profession to defy such constraining rationality.

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... These poor working conditions, a consequence of the neoliberalism prevailing in many countries (Albuquerque, 2019;Lauri, 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021), have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Banks et al., 2020;Úriz et al., 2021). ...
... Social workers' working conditions are increasingly precarious, especially in POs and TSOs; bureaucratisation is given priority over professional discretion; accountability, quality standards, and metrics for monitoring performance are generalised. Similar neoliberal policies are also applied in many other countries (Albuquerque, 2019;Cellini & Scavarda, 2020;Lauri, 2019;Lee et al., 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021). ...
... In the meantime, social workers will be forced to implement practices of resistance to overcome their contradictory experiences, beyond the above-mentioned coping strategies. They should not just adapt uncritically to the neoliberal constraints (Albuquerque, 2019), but instead resist this hegemonic discourse that impacts their labour standards and practice (Lee et al., 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021). However, neoliberalism and its inherent individualism and loyalty undermine the formation of critical social workers willing to protest against inequality (Lauri, 2019). ...
Article
This study aimed to examine some components of job satisfaction, work meaningfulness, and job dissatisfaction in social workers from governmental (GO), private (PO), and third sector (TSO) organisations. The study analysed the responses provided by 35 Spanish social workers concerning various work components that generate satisfaction, meaningfulness or dissatisfaction in them. The thematic analysis of their comments, grouped into job demands, job resources, and job crafting, revealed components that produce satisfaction and meaningfulness (the profession itself and coworkers’ support) and others that provoke dissatisfaction (overload, working conditions, and salaries). Similarities among the three organisations were found in the causes of satisfaction and meaningfulness. Differences were found concerning dissatisfaction: PO and TSO participants consider themselves precarious workers in terms of their overload, working conditions, and salaries; compared to them, GO social workers are considered privileged in these three components, so all participants want to work in a GO. These circumstances have been aggravated by the neoliberal policies implemented to confront the successive crises. Social workers carry out multiple coping strategies, including practices of resistance, to encourage satisfaction and meaningfulness, minimise dissatisfaction, and avoid or postpone withdrawal.
... These poor working conditions, a consequence of the neoliberalism prevailing in many countries (Albuquerque, 2019;Lauri, 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021), have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Banks et al., 2020;Úriz et al., 2021). ...
... Social workers' working conditions are increasingly precarious, especially in POs and TSOs; bureaucratisation is given priority over professional discretion; accountability, quality standards, and metrics for monitoring performance are generalised. Similar neoliberal policies are also applied in many other countries (Albuquerque, 2019;Cellini & Scavarda, 2020;Lauri, 2019;Lee et al., 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021). ...
... In the meantime, social workers will be forced to implement practices of resistance to overcome their contradictory experiences, beyond the above-mentioned coping strategies. They should not just adapt uncritically to the neoliberal constraints (Albuquerque, 2019), but instead resist this hegemonic discourse that impacts their labour standards and practice (Lee et al., 2019;Muñoz-Arce, 2019;Pentaraki, 2019;Ylvisaker & Rugkåsa, 2021). However, neoliberalism and its inherent individualism and loyalty undermine the formation of critical social workers willing to protest against inequality (Lauri, 2019). ...
Article
This study aimed to examine some components of job satisfaction, work meaningfulness, and job dissatisfaction in social workers from governmental (GO), private (PO), and third sector (TSO) organisations. The study analysed the responses provided by 35 Spanish social workers concerning various work components that generate satisfaction, meaningfulness or dissatisfaction in them. The thematic analysis of their comments, grouped into job demands, job resources, and job crafting, revealed components that produce satisfaction and meaningfulness (the profession itself and coworkers’ support) and others that provoke dissatisfaction (overload, working conditions, and salaries). Similarities among the three organisations were found in the causes of satisfaction and meaningfulness. Differences were found concerning dissatisfaction: PO and TSO participants consider themselves precarious workers in terms of their overload, working conditions, and salaries; compared to them, GO social workers are considered privileged in these three components, so all participants want to work in a GO. These circumstances have been aggravated by the neoliberal policies implemented to confront the successive crises. Social workers carry out multiple coping strategies, including practices of resistance, to encourage satisfaction and meaningfulness, minimise dissatisfaction, and avoid or postpone withdrawal.
... For instance, some teachers attempt to make music education appear "rigorous in exactly the same terms as other curriculum subjects" (Paynter 2002, 223), while other educators advance music education as a community based on practice (Angel-Alvarado 2020, Green 2017, Kenny 2016) because participative musical behaviors are encouraged. Both teaching approaches are sufficient to present the third systemic characteristic, self-interest, which refers to the tendency to behave individualistically (Muñoz 2019). ...
... In Chile, a standardization culture exists in the higher education system, but it centers mainly on standard comparative patterns based on efficiency (Ávalos 2015(Ávalos , Davies 2014b. The fourth effect reveals that the constitutional right to academic freedom makes it feasible for the school to offer any kind of approach to music education, which allows for institutional self-interest because agencies behave individualistically (Muñoz 2019). This reveals a situation charged with social segregation and exclusion (Spruce 2017), as indeed there are some secondary education students who have never even attended music lessons at the primary education level (Angel-Alvarado 2018a). ...
... The fifth neoliberal effect discloses that music education encourages an individualistic mindset (Muñoz 2019), as, while students do whatever it takes to obtain good marks, teachers implement operant conditioning strategies in order to control students' behavior. More precisely, it is worrisome that music teachers use marks as rewards and punishment of students' participation in lessons (Magnitzky and Sepúlveda 2017), because the mark becomes a catalyst of academic participation, and does not take into account the students' motivation for acquiring and developing significant learning in personal and collective terms. ...
Article
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The present article brings to light the effects of neoliberalism on the music education system in Chile, one example of such a system in Latin America. Relevant research literature is analyzed without the intention of achieving a theoretical universality regarding the effects of neoliberalism on music education. The article reveals that neoliberalism has negatively influenced Chilean music education in at least five areas: facilities and provisions , curricular conception and delivery, professionalism, social segregation justified on the basis of the constitutional right of academic freedom, and an individualistic mind-set. It concludes with an argument asserting that Chile is in need of a new social paradigm because the identified neoliberal patterns were found to have extraordinarily negative effects not only in education, but in other public services. International implications are suggested.
... Esping-Andersen, 1990; Gilbert et al., 2011;Hantrais, 2004). Neoliberalism was implemented in Chile through coercion during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973)(1974)(1975)(1976)(1977)(1978)(1979)(1980)(1981)(1982)(1983)(1984)(1985)(1986)(1987)(1988)(1989)(1990) (Muñoz Arce, 2019). During the dictatorship, tens of thousands of people who were linked to the political left were detained, tortured or "disappeared" (Amnesty International, 2013). ...
... However, concerns have been raised about this development. One significant argument is that it permits less room for professional autonomy and discretion in social work (Munro & Hardie, 2019;Muñoz Arce, 2019;Ponnert & Svensson, 2016), which is pivotal to acting upon the complexity of the issues regularly encountered in social work. One prominent example of standardised formats in child protection includes assessment measures that are, by large, focused on standardised risks and needs (Gilbert et al., 2011). ...
Book
The overall aim of this project was to gain extended insights into social workers’ perspectives of children in child protection work in Chile and Norway. Q methodology was applied to meet this aim, as it is suitable for exploring and comparing subjective perspectives. The findings are based on the perspectives of 38 social workers (21 in Chile and 17 in Norway). This project adopts an exploratory design, and during the research process, I discovered that a review of previous research on social workers’ perspectives of children in child protection work was lacking from the literature. Hence, the second aim of this project was to fill a research gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive portrayal of child protection social workers’ constructions of children through an integrative review. The body of this dissertation contains three research papers. Paper 1 explores child protection social workers’ practices and ideas about children and childhood in existing research. Findings are based on an analysis and synthesis of 35 empirical articles. Papers 2 and 3 present findings from the Q methodological study. While Paper 2 focuses on the perspectives of children among social workers in Chile (n=21), Paper 3 has a comparative approach to study the perspectives of children among social workers in Norway and Chile (n=38). The findings show that social workers in Norway are inclined to see children’s independence, while social workers in Chile tend to see children as relationally and structurally conditioned. Conducting an analysis and synthesis of previous research enabled a juxtaposition of findings from Chile and Norway against what was found in the integrative review. A key finding of the review is that children generally were understood in light of psychological knowledge such as developmental psychology, attachment theories and individualistic psychology. Less focus was directed towards contextual knowledge of children such as children’s neighbourhoods, friends and teachers and variation among children. A predominance of studies in the review were from U.K. or other Northern European countries. Hence, a key question that transpired from looking at findings across the three papers is whether the independent child is a predominant understanding of children among child protection workers in Northern European countries. There is still a lack of research, particularly in English, on social worker perspectives in Latin America. An important focus for future research should be to explore whether the perspective emphasising the relational and structural child that was reflected among the social workers in Chile transcends to a more general level among social workers in Chile and possibly to other Latin American countries. If these findings are identified in more large-scale studies, they may contribute to the building blocks of empirical and theoretical understandings, for example, regarding current knowledge on child protection systems. Moreover, such findings may extend the knowledge of how children’s rights are balanced among social workers internationally. This project contributes to extending previous knowledge by illuminating perspectives of children in child protection work among social workers in different welfare contexts. The perspectives identified in this study indicate different ways of seeing children which may orient social workers’ attention towards some aspects and away from others, particularly regarding the independent versus relational child. These orientations may have significant implications for interpretations and decisions made in child protection work.
... Social work doctoral programmes, research associations and academic journals increased in a significant way in Brazil at that time, followed by Costa Rica and Argentina in subsequent years (Bueno, 2013). Unlike these experiences, Chilean social work was developed under a deprofessionalised approach reinforced by the loss of the profession's university status, which took more than twenty-three years to be recovered (Muñoz Arce, 2019). ...
... Despite its centrality, the gap between research and professional practice has, historically, been exacerbated by positivistic, essentialist and binary understandings and, particularly, during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973)(1974)(1975)(1976)(1977)(1978)(1979)(1980)(1981)(1982)(1983)(1984)(1985)(1986)(1987)(1988)(1989)(1990), by the intellectual censorship of the disciplinary and professional development of social work. These historical legacies have resulted in research being outcasted from both academic and professional discussions-something that differs from other Latin American countries that restored the university status of social work faster than Chile and experienced intellectual censorship in less severe ways than Chilean social work (Muñoz Arce, 2019). At the other extreme, we observe that social work research has been promoted in a significant way by the new research policies implemented by the Chilean government since the later 2000s. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research has been a contested dimension of Chilean social work. An important turn occurred in 2008 when Chilean national research policies—highly influenced by managerialist approaches—increased opportunities for social workers to conduct research. Several efforts have been made by academics and professional social work organisations to encourage research as a means of gaining recognition as a discipline. Drawing upon a thematic literature review from a Chilean-based study on social workers’ research trajectories, this article contends that, despite the value of such efforts, there are some tensions related to the acritical adoption of such a managerialist approach on social work research that need further attention: (i) research does not have the same value for all social work sectors; (ii) social work research is mainly understood as ‘academic’ research; and (iii) social workers’ research does not necessarily have a ‘social work focus’. These findings are discussed in light of the historical background of Chilean social work and the insights provided by the international literature, from which we conclude that the creation of more inclusive and collaborative ways of conducting research is an urgent challenge. Findings are context-specific, yet, offer considerations for social work research seeking to counteract managerial approaches of knowledge production.
... Front-line social workers, defined as professionals directly involved in the implementation of social policies (Muñoz Arce, 2018 ), have been largely absent from the discussions in regard to the aid measures enacted. Their voices are particularly relevant, as front-line social workers are those actors who experience, interpret, translate, and ultimately re-design social policy, thus often representing the state in interactions with citizens (Lipsky, 2010 ;Muñoz Arce, 2018 ;Tummers, 2013 ;Weinberg & Banks, 2019 ). Considering the important role of front-line social workers in the implementation of social programs, questions arose as to how social programs had adapted to the current context of sanitary restrictions and lockdowns. ...
... As front-line social workers represent the state in their interactions with service users (Lipsky, 2010 ), often such representation produces uneasiness and ethical dilemmas, especially when they do not agree with certain policy positions (Muñoz Arce, 2018 ;Streir & Breshtling, 2016 ;Weinberg & Banks, 2019 ). The targeting used by the State to focalise aid to those characterised as most "needy and worthy" especially in times of crises, not only produces tensions for front-line social workers, but also produces competition between citizens who must demonstrate their eligibility in comparison to others. ...
Chapter
In October 2019, mass civil protests erupted in Chile questioning the country’s vast and historically rooted inequalities and injustices. These protests, which sought structural changes to Chile’s neoliberal ethos, were abruptly brought to a halt by the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020. The political, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic have only intensified the country’s historic inequalities and injustices, hitting hardest in areas with higher levels of vulnerability. Increased unemployment, food insecurity, violence, and mental health crises are only a few of the many issues social workers face in the current context. Furthermore, social distancing measures and forced quarantines have caused social programs to rapidly alter strategies to meet the needs of service users, requiring front-line professionals to adapt quickly. To examine and analyse these rapid changes in the delivery of social programs as well as their impact on front-line professionals, a mixed-methods study was undertaken that included the application of an online survey and follow-up interviews with front-line social workers. We found that social workers reported greater workloads and employment precarity within the current context, that programs were changed to meet the immediate tangible needs of individuals and families, and that changes were primarily designed in a nonparticipatory and centralised manner. This chapter analyses the study’s results and discusses the challenges social work faces in the current and future context.
... Chile adopted a neoliberal market-driven economy enforced during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973)(1974)(1975)(1976)(1977)(1978)(1979)(1980)(1981)(1982)(1983)(1984)(1985)(1986)(1987)(1988)(1989)(1990) (Muñoz Arce, 2019). While the country has experienced economic growth, Chile's income inequality is among the highest of the OECD countries (OECD, 2020). ...
Article
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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines universal standards for children’s welfare and position in society. Among other aspects, the convention advocates for a balance between seeing children as part of a family and as competent individuals in their own right. Nonetheless, countries have different conditions for meeting the rights outlined in the convention. This study explores social workers’ perspectives of children in child protection work in Norway and Chile. Q methodology was applied, as it is suitable for exploring and comparing perspectives. Thirty-eight social workers participated in the study (21 in Chile and 17 in Norway). Analysis revealed three distinct perspectives, with perspectives 1 and 2 predominately held by Chilean participants and perspective 3 by Norwegian participants. Perspectives 1 and 2 understand children through relational and structural lenses. Workers with these perspectives believe children’s needs are insufficiently met in family practices and at policy levels. Nevertheless, while perspective 1 tries to compensate for these inadequacies by giving children agency in local child protection work through child–social worker interactions, perspective 2 sees limited space for children’s agency in child protection work due to structural restraints. Perspective 3 sees children’s independence and believes children have agency in child protection work and family practices. Results are discussed in light of ideas regarding agency and child protection and welfare characteristics of Chile and Norway.
... The role played in this problem by the neoliberalization of social intervention is important. The political conjuncture in which Social Work develops is based on technical criteria rooted in logics of effectiveness according to institutional objectives; although contradictorily, it exalts the individual responsibility of program participants in the "success" of the intervention (our quotation marks) (Harris, 2014;Hicks, 2016;Muñoz-Arce, 2019). All these elements account for the existence of a commodification of the profession anchored in the neoliberalization of intervention; however, we must clarify that not only neoliberal dynamics play an important role in the constitution of contemporary Social Work. ...
Article
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Both the research that gives rise to this discussion and other studies carried out in Social Work reveal that there is still a theoretical and practical disconnection in professional performance. In this article, which is shown as a hybrid between research and discussion paper, this disconnection is problematized as the origin of the profession’s subalternity, articulating it with serious consequences such as the neoliberal instrumentalization of the profession, the depoliticization of the discipline and the delegitimization of Social Work as a source of knowledge.Based on specific research with social workers in Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC), we put forward some of the problematic hypotheses of the theorypractice relationship in Social Work in general, and of the work of protection and guarantee of rights with children in particular. One of the fundamental theses of the argument revolves around how these two dimensions are constructed in separate dualities as distinct worlds and how this disconnection places them, comparatively, at a disadvantage when it comes to enunciating proposals for action. To conclude, we propose an exit door that leads to an encounter between both theory and practice from critical self-observation. In this way, we offer as an alternative of reflection-action the investigative systematization of experiences; betting on its critical and complex version as a way of finding points of inflection, questioning and individual and collective conscience, from which to construct situated and also founded, polyphonic and transforming propositions.
... Moreover, workers have met the children's basic needs and housing by donating money from their salaries or contacting individuals or private companies for help. The responsibility of these workers to pay for work tools and meet the children's material needs fits perfectly with the prevailing neoliberal logic of social services (Muñoz-Arce, 2018). In this logic, the whole responsibility falls on individual actors, transforming the roles and identities of subjects to mobilize them to actively undertake and perform self-governing tasks (Shamir, 2008). ...
Article
COVID-19 arrived in Chile amid social protests that questioned the State's ability to protect children's rights. Nevertheless, child policy workers continued working despite the drastic changes to their daily work generated by both the pandemic and conflicts within the child welfare system. In this article, we aim to understand how these workers have experienced and overcome these challenges. We show that they have continued doing interventions with children at the expense of their economic resources and well-being. Our findings highlight the need for the government to take immediate action, offering guidelines to improve child policy workers' labor conditions.
... El rol que juega en este problema la neoliberalización de la intervención social es importante. La mercantilización social del Trabajo Social, en todos sus aspectos, determina los términos del aprendizaje y del desempeño profesional en una estructura política (pública-privada) que se fundamenta sobre criterios técnicos enraizados en lógicas de eficacia según objetivos institucionales; aunque, contradictoriamente, exalta la responsabilidad individual de los participantes de los programas en el "éxito" de la intervención (comillas mías) (Evans & Harris, 2004;Harris, 2014;Hicks, 2016;Muñoz Arce, 2019). ...
... These include the use of guerrilla warfare by exerting pressure in order to get needed services for individuals (James and Julian, 2020), social unionisation in order to advocate for service users (Courtney and Hickey, 2016), participation in grass-roots collective action (Turtiainen et al, 2020) and the use of both traditional and social media in order to bring awareness of unjust policies (Ioakimidis et al, 2013). However, despite neoliberal reason's global reach, the vast majority of the scientific literature on professional social work resistance has primarily been limited to studies in the Global North (see Baines, 2011;Carey and Foster, 2011;Ioakimidis et al, 2013;Martińez-Herrero et al, 2014;Weinberg and Taylor, 2014;Greenslade et al, 2015;Weinberg and Banks, 2019), with little research emerging from the Global South (Muñoz-Arce, 2019). Considering this shortcoming, this article seeks to contribute to the international discussion on professional resistance by exploring its possibilities in the Global South, specifically, in Chile, a country in which neoliberalism was forcefully imposed during the late 1970s (Harvey, 2005) and that, over the past two decades, has been confronted with growing social movements critiquing neoliberalism while demanding widespread political, social and cultural reform (Somma, 2012;Garretón, 2016;Bossert and Villalobos, 2020;Somma et al, 2020). ...
Article
In the current unscrupulous neoliberal climate, social workers are increasingly confronted with ethical and political tensions that clash with the profession’s commitments to human rights and social justice. However, despite neoliberalism’s global reach, the scholarship on social work professional resistance has been largely limited to the Global North. Taking into consideration this absence in the literature, this article seeks to explore the possibilities for professional resistance in the Global South, specifically, in Chile, a country in which neoliberalism was forcefully imposed and that has experienced an exponential growth in social movements over the past two decades. The following article explores the structural and material conditions that have historically shaped social work resistances, arguing that the current social and political climate, specifically, the constitutional process under way, presents a space from which new resistances are possible and necessary in order to challenge neoliberal hegemony.
Preprint
RESUMEN El Servicio Nacional del Menor (SENAME), como red de protección de niños en Chile, actualmente está en una profunda crisis, la cual se pone en evidencia tras los resultados sobre vulneraciones de derechos de niños y niñas bajo tutela estatal mostrados por UNICEF y el Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Sanfuentes y Espinoza 2017). En este panorama, se realiza un estudio en un Proyecto Piloto que se asume a sí mismo como alternativa privada e innovadora de respuesta complementaria al SENAME y los programas tradicionales para la atención de niños víctimas de maltrato grave y sus familias. Para ello, se lleva a cabo un trabajo etnográfico en el propio Proyecto con observación participante y técnicas grupales participativas. Desde el marco teórico que aporta las culturas políticas (Almond y Verba 1965, Krotz 1985), y con énfasis en el Enfoque de Derechos, (Save the Children 2002, Valverde 2009), se realizó un análisis de los nudos críticos en el trabajo de intervención desde la perspectiva del Equipo profesional. Los hallazgos muestran un trabajo controversial, en tensión permanente entre la práctica basadas en principios humanistas y los objetivos institucionales basados en la eficacia. La innovación aparece en términos neoliberales, como limitante de la autonomía de los profesionales y del desarrollo de nuevas herramientas para la acción (Swidler 1996), configurando prácticas y significados contraproducentes al Enfoque de Derechos en la Infancia. Palabras clave: Etnografía, intervención social, maltrato grave a niños, Enfoque de Derechos, culturas políticas, gubernamentalidad. O Serviço Nacional para Menores (SENAME), como rede de proteção à infância no Chile, está atualmente em profunda crise, o que é evidente pelos resultados sobre as violações dos direitos da criança sob tutela estatal mostrados pela UNICEF e pelo Instituto Nacional de Direitos Humanos (Sanfuentes e Espinoza 2017). Neste cenário, a equipe de pesquisa decidiu realizar um estudo em um Projeto Piloto que se assume como uma alternativa privada e inovadora de resposta complementar ao SENAME e aos programas tradicionais para o cuidado de crianças gravemente abusadas e suas famílias. Para isso, realizamos um trabalho etnográfico no próprio Projeto com observação participante e técnicas participativas de grupo. A partir do marco teórico proporcionado pelas culturas políticas (Almond e Verba 1965, Krtoz 1985), e com ênfase na Abordagem baseada em Direitos (Save the Children 2002, Valverde 2009), realizamos uma análise dos nós críticos no trabalho de intervenção a partir da perspectiva da equipe profissional. Os resultados mostram um trabalho controverso, em permanente tensão entre a prática baseada em princípios humanistas e objetivos institucionais baseados no eficacia. A inovação aparece em termos neoliberais, como uma limitação à autonomia dos profissionais e ao desenvolvimento de novas ferramentas de ação
Article
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Considerando los cambios políticos, sociales y económicos provocados por el COVID-19, el artículo estudia cómo la pandemia ha transformado las condiciones de los y las trabajadoras/es sociales de primera línea, esto es, de las y los trabajadoras/es sociales que implementan directamente los programas sociales en Chile. A través de una encuesta on-line y usando análisis bivariados, análisis de correspondencia múltiples y análisis de clústeres, el artículo presenta tres principales resultados: i) que las y los trabajadoras/es sociales han jugado un rol activo durante la pandemia, a través de la continuación de los programas sociales y la adaptación de estos al nuevo contexto sanitario; ii) que si bien parte importante de las y los trabajadoras/es sociales que implementan programas no han cambiado mayormente sus condiciones de trabajo, si hay algunos grupos (los más jóvenes y más precarizados) que estarían siendo afectados por este fenómeno y; iii) que se visualizan algunas diferencias en la forma de implementación de los cambios según la institución que implementa los programas, lo que permite discutir sobre el modelo de implementación de la política social hegemónica en el país.
Article
Since the return to democracy in the 1990s, community programmes in Chile have been pervaded by the neoliberal and neo-colonial approaches of social policies promoted by the state and supranational organisations, such as the World Bank. In this article, we examine the possibilities of front-line community social workers dismantling such a hegemonic rationale. Drawing upon the contributions of Latin American decolonial thought, we argue that social workers are able to exert resistance on the individual, competitive and instrumental approaches underlying their community interventions by decolonising their understandings and professional practices, and by being involved in collective political action. An exploration of Mapuche philosophy is offered as a means to illustrate some key dimensions in order to scrutinise community interventions and challenge the traditional mainstream Western and Eurocentric notions of community, knowledge and professional bonds and encounters. These proposals apply when working not only with culturally different populations, but also with all those subaltern groups oppressed by the neoliberal and neo-colonial rationale, in the interest of contributing to cognitive justice – another dimension of social justice.
Chapter
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Las y los trabajadoras/es sociales han jugado un rol activo durante la pandemia de Covid-19 en todo el mundo, dando soporte y continuidad a los programas sociales y en muchos casos, adaptándolos al nuevo contexto sanitario. En este capítulo examinamos los cambios en las condiciones de trabajo de las/os trabajadoras/es sociales que implementan programas sociales durante la pandemia del Covid-19, discutiendo nociones como las de subjetividad profesional y precarización, adaptación e incertidumbre en los marcos político-institucionales actualmente en curso. A partir de un estudio de carácter mixto secuencial, se identifica que si bien parte importante de las/os trabajadoras/es sociales que implementan programas no han cambiado mayormente sus condiciones de trabajo formales (aunque sí se observan cambios importantes en la carga de trabajo y los costos asociados a la implementación de los programas en estas nuevas condiciones), hay algunos grupos específicos que se han visto especialmente afectados a raíz de la pandemia del COVID-19: las/os colegas más jóvenes, menos preparados en términos de formación y que se desempeñan en la primera línea de ejecución de programas. Las entrevistas cualitativas nos permiten comprender con mayor detalle estas transformaciones, cómo se viven las complejidades del teletrabajo en el día a día de la intervención profesional, cómo se enfrentan los costos materiales y humanos, cómo se va reforzando una subjetividad profesional heroica y precarizada que ya venía observándose antes de la pandemia, pero que parece agudizarse ante la crisis. Se discute, cómo, en este contexto, las/os trabajadores sociales contestan frente a la precarización e inseguridad, proyectando desafíos y luchas futuras.
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Existen múltiples razones por las cuales un grupo de personas se da a la tarea de escribir un libro. En nuestro caso, “Vivir en tiempos convulsionados: desde reflexiones sociocríticas hacia propuestas para la intervención social”, que es el primer libro producido por el Núcleo de Investigación Sobre las Profesiones en las Sociedades Contemporáneas, de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, responde a un doble interés. Por una parte, en los tiempos políticamente agitados que corren en Chile y Latinoamérica, queremos ser partícipes de la construcción de las subjetividades con que enfrentaremos el entramado sociocultural y político futuro. En tal escenario nos interesa problematizar las encrucijadas, oportunidades, interespacios, desafíos, límites, y las fronteras o grietas de la intervención social, desde distintas miradas polidimensionales e interdisciplinarias. Por otro lado, con una escritura comprometida con pensamientos sociocríticos, queremos dar voz a las experiencias, logros y desvelos, que profesionales de intervención social directa, o cara a cara, nos han relatado a través de diversas instancias. Su coraje para desafiar la vida en tiempos convulsionados nos ha inspirado para ponernos como meta, en la escritura de cada uno de los capítulos, la elaboración de propuestas vinculadas a la intervención social y a la formación profesional en ciencias sociales, y en particular en Trabajo Social.
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En este capítulo, buscamos responder cuáles son los elementos mediando el encuentro intradisciplinar entre interventoras/es del trabajo social en Chile que actúan en el campo de la niñez. En base a las propuestas del institucionalismo crítico y la teoría de roles, revisitamos dos corpus de textos de estudios sobre intervención en infancia y trabajo social, para identificar diferentes elementos permeando el encuentro intradisciplinar. Algunos resultados que mostramos dan cuenta de cosmovisiones a veces contrapuestas mediando el encuentro. Por su parte, que, en ocasiones, la actuación disciplinar se desarrolla en condiciones de precariedad ante las cuales la mirada de quienes intervienen sería fundamental para colaborar e intervenir. En términos de propuestas, entre otras, abogamos por el fortalecimiento de las condiciones estructurales con que cuentan quienes intervienen. Ello, en pos de que la intervención no dependa principalmente de las características personales de las/los interventores
Article
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El Servicio Nacional del Menor (Sename), como red de protección de niños en Chile hasta octubre del 2021, se fue constituyendo como un sistema en crisis, el cual se pone en evidencia tras los resultados sobre vulneraciones de derechos de niños y niñas bajo tutela estatal mostrados por UNICEF y el Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Sanfuentes y Espinoza 2017). En este escenario, se realizó un estudio en un proyecto piloto que se asumió a sí mismo como alternativa privada e innovadora de respuesta complementaria al Sename y los programas tradicionales para la atención de niños víctimas de maltrato grave y sus familias. La investigación se realizó como proceso etnográfico en el propio proyecto piloto con observaciones participantes y técnicas grupales participativas. Desde el marco teórico que aporta las culturas políticas (Almond y Verba 1989 [1963]; Krotz 2005), y con énfasis en el enfoque de derechos (Valverde 2009), se realizó un análisis de los nudos críticos en el trabajo de intervención desde la perspectiva del equipo profesional. Los hallazgos muestran un trabajo controversial, en tensión permanente entre la práctica basada en principios humanistas y los objetivos institucionales basados en la eficacia. La innovación aparece en términos neoliberales, como limitante de la autonomía de los profesionales y del desarrollo de nuevas herramientas para la acción (Swidler 1996), configurando prácticas y significados contraproducentes al enfoque de derechos en la niñez.
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The Christian grassroots communities are the backbone of Liberation Theology in Latin America. The laity are no longer passive subjects but with agency, and through praxis they display the subversive memory of Jesus among the most oppressed. The Neoliberal Reform in Chile for 40 years, first in dictatorship and then in democracy, contributed to the articulation of these communities during the first period, characterized by repression, entering into latency during the long democratic transition, rearticulating from the social unrest of October 2019 and the social and health crisis of the COVID-19. We studied the case of the soup kitchens of Villa Francia and La Legua, two emblematic shanty towns of Santiago, Chile, which through radical social work was able to provide support to the neighbors hit by the crisis. Through the testimonies of the organizing teams and the people who attended the soup kitchens, the following findings were obtained: praxis takes place in the public space; networks of trust and collaboration from praxis are the basis for radical social work during the pandemic; it is a re-encounter with liberating experience, both for those who organize and for those who come for help.
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Reconociendo que la colaboración en el contexto de la intervención es, primero, relevante, y, segundo, que ha sido principalmente estudiada desde una perspectiva interdisciplinar, este estudio, situado en el Trabajo Social chileno, observa la colaboración intradisciplinar, específicamente entre profesionales y técnicos/as en Trabajo Social. Busca responder, entre otras preguntas, en qué medida la institucionalidad, los aspectos organizacionales y los elementos personales de los interventores incidirían en la colaboración intradisciplinar. Metodológicamente, con base en un cuestionario cuantitativo, respondido por profesionales y técnicos/as en Trabajo Social en Chile y utilizando un modelo de regresión lineal múltiple, este trabajo responde las preguntas que lo han guiado. En términos de resultados, entre otros, se advierte que estos elementos explicarían cuantitativamente, de forma importante, la colaboración. Entre sus conclusiones, se advierte la necesidad de fortalecer las condiciones institucionales y organizacionales para favorecer una colaboración significativa en pos de la intervención.
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Neoliberalism: The Key Concepts provides a critical guide to a vocabulary that has become globally dominant over the past forty years. The language of neoliberalism both constructs and expresses a particular vision of economics, politics, and everyday life. Some find this vision to be appealing, but many others find the contents and implications of neoliberalism to be alarming.Despite the popularity of these concepts, they often remain confusing, the product of contested histories, meanings, and practices. In an accessible way, this interdisciplinary resource explores and dissects key terms such as: Capitalism Choice Competition Entrepreneurship Finance Flexibility Freedom Governance Market Reform Stakeholder State Complete with an introductory essay, cross-referencing, and an extensive bibliography, this book provides a unique and insightful introduction to the study of neoliberalism in all its forms and disguises.
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The goal of this article is to deepen understanding of the concept of professional resistance. Studies show that social workers in various parts of the world are increasingly confronted with regulations, programs, and policies that challenge their ability to carry out their professional mission in an ethical manner. Social workers may also find themselves under the pressure of periodic retrenchment resulting from budgetary constraints and subjected to worsening working conditions and threats of wage or social benefit reduction. Therefore, it is not surprising that social workers are sometimes required to engage in actions to oppose these negative realities or, in other words, to practice professional resistance. However, despite its growing relevance, the term “professional resistance” remains both theoretically obscure and marginal to social work practice. This article traces the presence of the concept in social work history, examines divergent uses of the concept in social work literature, introduces theoretical perspectives that may help practitioners enlarge their professional repertoire, provides concrete cases of resistance in different contexts, and finally proposes some paths to professional resistance.
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El neoliberalismo continúa demostrando su manifiesta incompetencia a la hora de plantear una pauta razonable de integración social. Los Programas de Transferencia de Renta Condicionada implementados en Uruguay, a partir de la creación del Ministerio de Desarrollo Social (Mides) en el año 2005 se diseñaron con el explicito objetivo de combatir la pobreza extrema, consecuencia directa de la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales desarrolladas en el Uruguay. El artículo busca demostrar que la paradoja contenida en el propio dispositivo, es que esta búsqueda se realiza rindiendo culto a los límites impuestos por la retórica neoliberal.
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English The transformation of the social work role through the imposition of neo-liberal policies is creating widespread dissatisfaction. This article identifies some bases for resistance to these policies and discusses their potential for informing a new paradigm, based on a rejection of neoliberalism in social work. French L'application des politiques néo-libérales transforme le rôle du travail social, ce qui suscite une insatisfaction généralisée. Cet article identifie certains fondements de la à ces politiques et il en évalue le potentiel pour créer un nouveau paradigme fondé sur le rejet du néo-libéralisme en travail social. Spanish El papel del trabajo social está cambiando como consecuencia de la imposición de políticas neoliberales. Esto crea una insatisfacción general. Se identifican las bases para resistir estas políticas y se explora la posibilidad de que esas bases informen un nuevo paradigma, basado en el rechazo del neoliberalismo en el trabajo social.
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Thematic analysis is a poorly demarcated, rarely acknowledged, yet widely used qualitative analytic method within psychology. In this paper, we argue that it offers an accessible and theoretically flexible approach to analysing qualitative data. We outline what thematic analysis is, locating it in relation to other qualitative analytic methods that search for themes or patterns, and in relation to different epistemological and ontological positions. We then provide clear guidelines to those wanting to start thematic analysis, or conduct it in a more deliberate and rigorous way, and consider potential pitfalls in conducting thematic analysis. Finally, we outline the disadvantages and advantages of thematic analysis. We conclude by advocating thematic analysis as a useful and flexible method for qualitative research in and beyond psychology.
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Chile es uno de los pa�ses con peor desigualdad del ingreso de Am�rica Latina e incluso del mundo. Al mismo tiempo, durante la �ltima d�cada, el "modelo chileno" ha sido considerado como un ejemplo paradigm�tico que debiera ser imitado por los pa�ses en desarrollo y en particular, por los pa�ses latinoamericanos. �C�mo se concilian estos dos fen�menos? Existe consenso respecto al rol positivo de la educaci�n para reducir la desigualdad del ingreso. Las sugerencias est�n orientadas a mejorar el acceso y la calidad de la educaci�n. Sin embargo, los resultados de esta pol�tica s�lo ser�n percibidos en el largo plazo. Chile ya tiene un mejor nivel educacional promedio que Argentina, Costa Rica y M�xico, �c�mo se explica que tenga una peor situaci�n distributiva? Por otra parte, para un latinoamericano promedio, a trav�s de toda su trayectoria de vida, finalizar sus estudios secundarios (12 a�os de escolaridad) ni siquiera le permite triplicar los ingresos que tiene un analfabeto. La diferencia cuantitativa en el perfil de ingresos s�lo se materializa cuando este latinoamericano promedio adquiere una carrera universitaria; i.e., una profesi�n universitaria constituye realmente el mecanismo para acceder a un standard de vida bastante diferente del de un analfabeto. Pero, no es viable la posibilidad de que todos los j�venes chilenos (y latinoamericanos) ingresen a la universidad. Entonces, �cu�l es la soluci�n? Un segundo foco de pol�ticas espec�fico para el caso chileno est� asociado a la situaci�n de las mujeres. La tasa de participaci�n femenina en la fuerza laboral chilena es notoriamente inferior a la de otros pa�ses latinoamericanos. Este diferencial de menor participaci�n femenina chilena se observa a trav�s de todos los grupos de ingreso. Adem�s, es posible apreciar en Chile el gran diferencial existente en la tasa de participaci�n femenina para distintos estratos de ingresos; 50% en el decil m�s rico
Book
Neoliberalism--the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action--has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a wide audience, David Harvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. Through critical engagement with this history, he constructs a framework, not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.
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This book traces the changing fortunes of radical and critical social work in the U.K., and examines the theory, context and application of such approaches. Radical social work of the 1970s declined as the rise of neoliberalism changed the nature of the welfare state along with what social workers do and how. A looser critical approach developed, although practitioner demoralisation and disillusionment led to the 'second wave' of radical social work in the late 2000s. Despite challenges, critical practice is both necessary and possible in the neoliberal world. Drawing on the author's unique experience, core areas of practice with children and families are covered, including real life case studies, key point summaries and suggestions for further reading. The essential argument is for an emancipatory practice geared to meeting immediate needs, as well as having some vision of a future, more socially just and equal, society. The book will be invaluable to undergraduate and postgraduate social work students, experienced practitioners, educators, managers and policy makers.
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Social work developed from Christian caring and a eudaimonic desire for a worthwhile life. Although ethics continue to underpin the discipline, contemporary complexities of post-modernism, globalism and managerialism are destabilising the universalist moral intentions of practice and subsequently demotivating eudaimonic drives. Cultural and context-specific relativist influences are promoting an ethics of ‘fitting in’ which, without critical analysis, betrays client best interests by favouring formulaic absolutes. Alternative, relationist theory can support a critically reflective and care-ethics-driven practice that is motivating, clearer and focused on ontological consideration of dynamic client, practitioner and environmental needs. It can thus help social workers to situate themselves and achieve personal and professional transformation.
Chapter
We can use visual narrative methodology to understand child development in its historical sense by looking to the past to understand the present. In child development it is important to account for external culture and historical influences (Vygotsky, The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky. (Prologue by Carl Ratner): vol. 5. Child psychology. 1998 Publishers, Kluwer Academic/Plenum, Boston/Dordrecht/London/Moscow, 1987). The historical dynamic implies a need to see changing practices in motion, iteration and transformation over time. The study reported in this chapter took place in an Australian community pre-school, where I had taught (1976–1979). Returning as a researcher in 2005–2008, the past appeared present in phenomena such as the boat in the yard. Visual narrative data around the boat from interview transcripts, photographs, archival records and field notes were juxtaposed to form a methodological dialectic. To conceptualise the dynamic-forms and transformations of the boat in relation to external cultural-historical influences, a new tool to interpret a methodological dialectic, the past-present dialectic, was created. Applied to analysis of visual narrative data, this tool revealed hidden cultural-historical influences in child development through showing institutional practices around changing forms and uses of the boat over time.
Book
Neoliberalism: The Key Concepts provides a critical guide to a vocabulary that has become globally dominant over the past forty years. The language of neoliberalism both constructs and expresses a particular vision of economics, politics, and everyday life. Some find this vision to be appealing, but many others find the contents and implications of neoliberalism to be alarming.Despite the popularity of these concepts, they often remain confusing, the product of contested histories, meanings, and practices. In an accessible way, this interdisciplinary resource explores and dissects key terms such as: Capitalism Choice Competition Entrepreneurship Finance Flexibility Freedom Governance Market Reform Stakeholder State Complete with an introductory essay, cross-referencing, and an extensive bibliography, this book provides a unique and insightful introduction to the study of neoliberalism in all its forms and disguises.
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This paper is a critical exploration of the of the term neoliberalism. Drawing on a wide range of literature across the critical social sciences and with particular emphasis on the political economy of development, it evaluates the consequences of the term's proliferation and expanded usage since the 1980s. It advances a case that neoliberalism has become a deeply problematic and incoherent term that has multiple and contradictory meanings, and thus has diminished analytical value. In addition, the paper also explores the one-sided, morally laden usage of the term by non-economists to describe economic phenomena, and the way that this serves to signify and reproduce the divide between economics and the rest of the social sciences.
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This paper draws upon case study research to explore deviant social work. This is defined as small-scale acts of resistance, subterfuge, deception or even sabotage that are typically hidden yet scattered throughout parts of the social work labour process. Taking a wide variety of forms that can include recalcitrant attitudes as well as practices, deviant social work can be seen as being distinct from radical social work, most notably due to its implicit, pragmatic, non-idealistic and individual dispositions and strategies that are not rooted within epistemological, professional or other institutionally defined parameters. In contrast, positive deviant social work seeks as its maxim application and tangible support to vulnerable people above theoretical critique, rhetoric or perpetual reflexivity. Just as significant, because of its covert and disparate expressions, deviant social work also largely evades managerial or policy-led forms of location, surveillance and control. It is concluded that only engagement with an eclectic mix of critical theories is likely to help us locate and understand the many forms of resistance that inevitably emerge within an unpredictable, demanding, highly regulated and under-resourced quasi-professional labour process such as social work.
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An ongoing qualitative study of social service managers in southern Ontario explores the challenges of critical management in restructured social programmes. Recruited because of their extensive practice backgrounds and commitments to progressive public services, study participants illuminate the tensions in their contradictory positioning: at odds with managerialist practices they are charged to implement, while also in positions of some influence and resistant potential. Their resistance consists of an inter-play of oppositional behaviour and, the focus of this paper, complex identity work. In order to advance or shelter their critical aspirations, participating managers engage strategically in multiple performances of self-performances acutely attuned to the demands for flexibility and individualistic accomplishment that dominate the neo-liberal work order and contemporary management discourses. Participants are intensely aware of the dangers of losing themselves and their oppositional capacity amid these multiple and conflicting performances. They gauge the risks with vigilant self-examination. Analysis of their isolated struggles with divided identities sheds light on the challenges of resisting the de-politicisation of practice at senior levels inside the dispersed state, and contributes to unfolding debates about the practices and ambiguities of resistance.
Article
This paper reports the early findings of a qualitative, longitudinal study of women managing health and social services in southern Ontario-a context that has been subject to successive rounds of restructuring and managerial reforms. Study participants, all women with extensive practice backgrounds and long-standing commitments to progressive public services, were critical of yet deeply implicated in organizational practices they judged at odds with the interests of clients and communities. The findings reveal how they negotiate this complex positioning within and against the logic of managerialism to find ways to insert social justice agendas. Even as managerial imperatives pressed them to subordinate these agendas, they found ways to extend the reach of their programmes to those increasingly excluded from receipt of public support and to politicize and expand the scope of their organizations' work. By naming such practices and strategies-often experienced in isolation and as somewhat improvised and formless-the study seeks to contribute to the critical literature on social service management. Participants' experiences open up important questions about both the strains and the opportunities in managers' positioning that will be the focus of ongoing data-gathering and analysis.
Article
A century after the publication of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism, a major new work examines network-based organization, employee autonomy and post-Fordist horizontal work structures.
Article
This article presents theoretical and empirical analysis of the micro-politics of resistance. We theorize resistance at the level of meanings and subjectivities, drawing attention to the multidirectional and generative effects in identity construction. We address two shortcomings present in much of the theorizing of resistance, namely, the conceptualizing of resistance as a set of actions and behaviours, and the narrow conception of resistance as a reaction to repressive power. Focusing on the UK public services, we draw from texts generated within interviews with public service professionals in the police, social services and secondary education to explore the meanings individuals ascribe to the discourse of New Public Management (NPM) and their positioning within these meanings. The analysis contributes to the study of organizations in three respects. First, it offers a more detailed and varied understanding of resistance that can account for different motivations and ways in which individuals struggle to transform meanings. Second, drawing on specific cases, it illustrates the process of the micro-politics of resistance. Third, it presents an empirically grounded understanding of the character and conduct of NPM that can accommodate greater complexity and nuance.
Making connections. Bristol: The Policy Press
  • P M Garrett
  • Rogowski S.
Neoliberalismo corregido y progresismo limitado: los gobiernos de la Concertación en Chile 1990-2010 [Amended neoliberalism and limited progressiveness: La Concertación governments in Chile
  • M Garretón
Algunas reflexiones acerca del ejercicio profesional del trabajo social durante la dictadura militar [Some reflections about social work during the military dictatorship
  • L Sepúlveda
Desarrollo humano, producción social de la pobreza y gobierno de la pobreza [Human development, social production of poverty and poverty government
  • M Campana
Vulnerability in resistance
  • J Butler
  • Z Gambetti
Trabajo social chileno y dictadura militar [Chilean social work and military dictatorship
  • P Castañeda
  • M Salamé
Historiografía crítica: una reflexión teórica
  • S Pappe
  • M Luna
Evolución de la Matrícula Educación Superior de Chile 1990-2009 [Evolution of higher education enrolment in Chile
  • R Rolando
  • J Salamanca
  • M Aliaga
Trabajo social e investigación social
  • G Rubilar