Feminist social work is being developed in the same context as other forms of social work — that of a culturally specific nation-state subject to the pressures of globalisation, privatisation and internationalisation of locally expressed policies and practices. Social policy declarations establish the parameters of professional practice in a given locality. In Britain, the government’s recent promotion of the mixed economy of care within state, voluntary, private and domestic sectors has profound implications for the roles ascribed to social work, the management of practice and social workers’ relationships with ‘clients’ and the organisations catering for welfare needs (Khan and Dominelli, 2000). Social policies also transfer women’s dependency on state funding to men in family settings and reflect a shift from public patriarchy to private patriarchy (see Walby, 1990).
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