Gwilym, Hefin (2016) The declared political identity of social workers in a neoliberal era. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the impact of neoliberalism on the political identity of social workers. It discusses social work as an inherently political activity that has been under attack since the advent and domination of neoliberalism since the early 1980s. It explores social work's roots in social reform and social justice and how today social work has become a depoliticised and technocratic activity. The thesis explores these phenomena through an empirical study of fourteen social workers who have a declared and enacted political identity, such as parliamentarians. It takes a biographical inquiry approach to examining their identity from early development of social reformist and social justice perspectives to facing the dilemma of neoliberalism in social work. It also deploys a constructivist grounded theory analytical process to analyse the biographical interviews and construct a substantive theory. What emerges is a study of social workers managing their social work identity in the face of changes within the social work profession and sustaining a stable social reformist political identity throughout their life course to date. It also demonstrates how strongly attached the participants are to their social work identity during their political careers. The thesis has importance for the social work profession not least because this cohort can advocate on behalf of the profession in powerful places.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Michael Debenham
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 16:38
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2016 16:38
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468

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