Social workers and alienation: the compassionate self and the disappointed juggler.
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YUILL, C. 2018. Social workers and alienation: the compassionate self and the disappointed juggler. Critical and radical social work [online], 6(3), pages 275-289. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1332/204986018X15388225375247
British social work has been undergoing a series of radical transformations from the 1980s onwards. The main shift has been a move away from the parochial professionalism of the 1970s to a profession that is being constantly reshaped by the impulses of the new managerialism to meet the needs of the neoliberal state. From the vantage point of Marxian alienation theory this article analyses the experiences of 16 social workers of being alienated and estranged from how they desire their labour to be. The main finding to emerge from qualitative semi-structured is that the logics of new managerialism lead to a loss of the object of labour (the service user) by substituting that object with another: the case report. That report requires none of the creativity and skills that the social workers wish to exercise in the labour. Instead it dominates and structures their work whilst distorting their subjectivity.