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Radical social work today

Radical social work today: Social work at the crossroads

Edited by Michael Lavalette
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Radical social work today
    Book Description:

    Created to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Bailey and Brake's seminal text Radical Social Work (1975), this volume seeks to explore the radical tradition within social work and assess its legacy, relevance and prospects. With a foreword by Roy Bailey, the book brings together leading academics within social work in Britain to reflect on the legacy of Radical Social Work (both the original text and the wider social movement) within social work education, theory and practice. With the current issues facing social work in Britain, this book examines the radical tradition to assert that 'another social work is possible'.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-819-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. Notes on contributors
    (pp. iv-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Roy Bailey

    For 20 years I have done nothing but sing songs. In the songs I choose, I believe I am continuing the political work in which I have always been involved, either as a teacher, a lecturer, an academic or a folk singer.

    In fact, sometimes the two worlds – of folk singing and social work – overlap. I was in Australia some years ago when a young woman came up and asked “are you the same Roy Bailey who produced the book entitled,Radical social work?” I said I was. She asked if I would be in town for the...

  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Michael Lavalette

    This volume has been put together to mark – and indeed celebrate – the 35th anniversary of the publication of Bailey and Brake’s (1975)Radical social work. Bailey and Brake’s work has become one of the few great, seminal texts of social work in Britain. Today, even those hostile to the general direction of the argument presented in the book, are willing to concede that the book had a significant impact on debates over social work theory and practice in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Reading the text today there is no doubt that some of the chapters are shaped by...

  7. ONE Case Con and radical social work in the 1970s: the impatient revolutionaries
    (pp. 11-26)
    Jeremy Weinstein

    As I start writing this chapter I have in front of me a copy of Bailey and Brake’sRadical social work(a deceptively slim and succinct book, published in 1975), and also a pile of rather frayed copies ofCase Con, ‘the revolutionary magazine for social workers’, the first copy of which appeared in 1970, the last in 1977. Both the book and the magazines shared a social and historical moment and were engaged in the same struggles but they stepped on the stage at slightly different times and played somewhat different roles:Case Conwith all the energy of...

  8. TWO The best and worst of times: reflections on the impact of radicalism on British social work education in the 1970s
    (pp. 27-44)
    Chris Jones

    The 1970s was an extraordinary decade for British social work with repercussions that have decisively influenced its subsequent development. The decade opened with social work being rewarded with its own state agency, with social work and no longer medicine as the lead profession. It ended with a nationwide strike of social workers in targeted areas of the country. It was a decade of unbelievable optimism for social work, but also the stuff of nightmares. At the beginning of the 1960s, New York social workers remarked on the hats and gloves worn by their visiting social work students from the LSE,...

  9. THREE Social work and women’s oppression today
    (pp. 45-58)
    Laura Penketh

    In the Bailey and Brake collection, there was no specific chapter on women’s oppression, but the position of women in society and the ideas and perspectives of the women’s movement were embedded within the book and formed a central part of the radical social work revival in the 1970s.

    This chapter seeks to explore social work and women’s oppression with a focus on gender and class. It will mainly discuss the lives of poorer working-class women who are overrepresented as service users in the social work sector, particularly in relation to childcare and child protection work. In doing so, it...

  10. FOUR The jester’s joke
    (pp. 59-78)
    Charlotte Williams

    In the opening months of 2010, the Communities Secretary, Lord Denham, launching a review of government policy on ‘race’, posed racism as somehow unproblematic in the light of the fact that we are all now ‘comfortable with diversity’ (The Guardian, 14 January). Denham suggested ‘we must avoid a one-dimensional debate that assumes that all minority ethnic people are disadvantaged’ and argued that factors of class probably outweigh racism as the contemporary issue of inequality. Denham sees a Britain that has changed ‘immeasurably for the better’ and argued that ‘sustained action over the last 10 years has promoted racial equality and...

  11. FIVE LGBT oppression, sexualities and radical social work today
    (pp. 79-94)
    Laura Miles

    The year 2009 marked the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and the subsequent birth of the Gay Liberation Front. It is difficult to underestimate the significance of the Stonewall Rebellion of 27 June 1969 which was initiated by the lesbians and gays, drag queens, transvestites and transsexual people in the Stonewall bar in New York who had grown sick of police harassment and who therefore said, ‘Enough is enough’. The resistance at a seedy New York club ended up with a group of brutal, racist, homophobic cops being penned up inside the Stonewall bar. It was...

  12. SIX Radical social work and service users: a crucial connection
    (pp. 95-114)
    Peter Beresford

    Social work is an activity that is essentially about relationships. A wide range of such relationships are involved between social work, the social worker and the state, society, communities, the family, the individual, collectivities, difference and equality. It is the nature of such relationships which signifies the form and purpose of social work. This is why historically social work has been conceived as both a liberatory and regulatory force – and indeed why it may sometimes be identified as both at the same time. It may not only serve to support or restrict human and civil rights. It may also...

  13. SEVEN Why class (still) matters
    (pp. 115-134)
    Iain Ferguson

    Politics in the UK took an unexpected detour towards the end of 2009. Following 12 years during which the notion of class was effectively banished from official political discourse and poverty was presented as an issue of social exclusion rather than of income inequality, New Labour rediscovered class.

    The rediscovery began in November of that year with Chancellor Alistair Darling’s imposition of a windfall tax on bankers’ bonuses. It continued with a well-prepared, and much publicised, jibe by Gordon Brown during Prime Minister’s Question Time about the Conservatives’ economic policies having been ‘dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton’....

  14. EIGHT International social work or social work internationalism? Radical social work in global perspective
    (pp. 135-152)
    Michael Lavalette and Vasilios Ioakimidis

    Bailey and Brake’s collection aimed to provide a series of arguments for, and about, radical social work in Britain. It did not look at social work engagement beyond Britain’s shores. This is no great surprise; in 1975 international and comparative social work was still some considerable distance off! Nevertheless, in the second decade of the 21st century it would look odd for any radical social work book to restrict itself to debates about social work within a single nation-state and ignore developments and arguments that are drawn from the international stage. More than this, it is now clear that many...

  15. NINE Rediscovering radicalism and humanity in social work
    (pp. 153-164)
    Mary Langan

    The question posed by Iain Ferguson in his bookReclaiming social work: Challenging neoliberalism and promoting social justiceaccurately identifies the challenges facing social work today. These challenges arise from a number of familiar factors – the marketisation of social care services, the demoralisation of social workers under the combined pressures of managerialism and the public opprobrium arising from child protection scandals. Radical social work has suffered a particular loss of focus and direction as a consequence of the fragmentation of the left and the new social movements of feminism and anti-racism from which it emerged. Yet the traditions of...

  16. TEN Re-gilding the ghetto: community work and community development in 21st-century Britain
    (pp. 165-186)
    Sarah Banks

    The theory and practice of community work is bedevilled by debates around terminology, identity and ideology – just as much as, if not more than, social work. The term ‘community’ (noun), while often dismissed as meaningless, nevertheless has much more substantive content than the term ‘social’ (adjective) as it occurs in ‘social work’. While ‘community’ tends to have a positive evaluative meaning (associated with warmth and caring), it also has a number of descriptive meanings (Plant, 1974) and can be used to describe groups of people that are exclusive, hierarchical, homogeneous and conservative, as well as groups that are inclusive,...

  17. ELEVEN Resisting the EasyCare model: building a more radical, community-based, anti-authoritarian social work for the future
    (pp. 187-204)
    Mark Baldwin

    Social workers generally come into the profession wanting to make a difference in people’s lives. They may be motivated to use their advantages to improve the wellbeing of those they see as less fortunate than themselves (social worker as helper) or by a sense of social justice and desire to change the world (Payne, 2005). The third part of Malcolm Payne’s (2005) model for understanding social work is social work as control of resources. I have never met anyone who came into the profession with the latter as their inspiration or aspiration.

    Despite this, we are living in a world...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 205-230)
  19. Index
    (pp. 231-236)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-237)