The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Power, Poverty, Politics & Values

Author: Martin Sheedy

From the Core Themes in Social Work series

Published in paperback by McGraw Hill Open University Press (ISBN: 9780335244553)

Starting with what is probably one of the most lucid explanations of the current neo-liberal political climate, Sheedy presents the reader with a compelling argument for the need for social work to defend its role in society.

Sheedy shows how inextricably linked are politics and the development of social work values and Codes of Practice, along with theories and methods of practice from both the modern and post-modern eras.

Demonstrating the capitalist system’s need to maintain inequality and disadvantage for its own continuation, Sheedy builds the evidence of a social work profession increasingly trapped in enforcing the uneven power struggles between a ruling elite and the disadvantaged, in a system that makes inequalities seem natural by focusing on pathologising the poor and individualising responsibility.  He shows that as social workers are frequently called on to police neo-liberal/capitalist policies, little space remains for challenging the structural causes of oppression, disadvantage and inequality.

Although the initial chapter on politics would probably benefit from one or two explanatory tables or diagrams, Sheedy writes in an engaging, easy to read style, without losing any of the academic rigour needed for his subject.

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