Edited by Michael Lavalette and Iain Ferguson
Review by Keith Popple, professor of social work at London South Bank University
The global, economic slowdown has given this text even greater importance because it raises key questions about the effects of globalisation on social work and calls for a new radicalism.
As globalisation and the wealth-and-income divide increases, we are witnessing almost unabated the strengthening dominance of market-based approaches to social work services.
The book aims to help practitioners, students and academics understand the relevance of developing a radical critique for these troubled times.
At the same time the state, and in particular local authorities, are now loosening their ties with the practice of social work, and instead are playing a regulatory role while social work is increasingly being operated by the voluntary and private sector.
The book’s contributors call for a re-assessment of the radical social work tradition, arguing it is more relevant now than ever.
Through chapters that bring together case studies from the UK, Canada, Nicaragua, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Palestine, the authors offer us the view that there is a need to ensure that it is social work’s value base that defines the practice, not a state that is budget-dominated.
The chapter titled “The Social Worker as Agitator” should be read and discussed by all social work students, while the chapter by Nalini Nayak has much to tell us about community-based approaches to social work.
This is a book that should be on all social work course reading lists, and on every social worker’s bookshelf.
Published in the 6 November edition of Community Care magazine 2008