Along with social work practitioners, service users have also been significantly affected by the developments charted in Chapters 2 to 5. The processes by which change has been wrought and the impact on service users can be captured through an analysis of their status. The various descriptive labels that have attached to people who use welfare services are particularly illustrative in that these labels conjure up specific identities, each of which have consequences. At one time (albeit quite a long time ago), a social worker, even one who was not necessarily working in a health-related setting, might have unselfconsciously referred to service users as ‘patients’. More latterly, the words ‘client’ or ‘service user’ predominate. Most recently and in many domains (but by no means all) another pair of labels or identities has been brought into play — that of consumer and customer. These developments signify an interesting and disturbing outcome, particularly of the political developments we discussed in Chapter 4. They suggest that the 20th century relations of citizenship — that is, relationships between individuals/groups and the state — are undergoing a transformation in ways that intimately involve people who use welfare services.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Re-constructing Service Users
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number