A Fisher-eye lens on social work reform

Journal article


McGrath-Brookes, M., Hanley, J. and Higgins, M. (2020). A Fisher-eye lens on social work reform. Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017320956750
AuthorsMcGrath-Brookes, M., Hanley, J. and Higgins, M.
AbstractSummary Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, published in 2009, has been recognised as one of the most important contributions chronicling the rise, application and consequences of neoliberalism. However, Fisher’s ideas have until now only garnered passing mention in the study of neoliberalism in children and families social work in England, despite there being extensive research, argument and publication on the subject more broadly. This article attempts to rectify this gap and apply Fisher’s theory to the recent reforms in children and families social work in England. Findings The article applies Fisher’s commentary on the co-option of language, invoking crisis, bureaucracy and proposing change to implement no change, to the reforms in children and families social work that began with the implementation of Reclaiming Social Work in 2008. Since that time, the original architects of Reclaiming Social Work have gained significant positions of power and influence and been instrumental in introducing neoliberal reforms throughout children and families social work in England. Applications Through applying the approach and concepts of Mark Fisher, this article concludes that it is possible to determine that the current reforms are, at their core, neoliberal in nature and driven by an ideological imperative to transform children and families social work in England into a neoliberal edifice, with less public sector and state input and oversight and an increase in the influence of ‘not-for-profits’, charities and international for-profit consultancies.
KeywordsSocial Sciences (miscellaneous); Health(social science)
Year2020
JournalJournal of Social Work
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1468-0173
1741-296X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1468017320956750
Publication dates
Online11 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Sep 2020
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Page range146801732095675
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