"Blaming-the-poor": strengths and development discourses which obfuscate neo-liberal and individualist ideologies.
Smith, Linda Harms
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SMITH, L.H. 2017. "Blaming-the-poor": strengths and development discourses which obfuscate neo-liberal and individualist ideologies. International social work [online], 60(2), pages 336-350. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872815594218
Critical interrogation of social work texts reveals ideologies contributing to hegemonic 'taken-for-granted' knowledge that maintains oppressive power relations. In the South African context of ongoing inequality after the 1994 democratic transition, neo-liberal ideologies have structured and constrained social work knowledge and practice constitutive of social change. Similarly, conservative neo-liberal ideologies underpinning social work knowledge and discourse act performatively to shape practice and social realities. This article, based on a section of the author's PhD study, examines one of the thematic ideological trends found in post-1994 social work texts on poverty and social development, which reflect neo-liberal, individualist ideologies of 'blaming-the-poor' and personal culpability for poverty. A selection of three texts is discussed, illustrating processes and modes of operation of these ideologies in the various approaches proposed.