Social work has been criticised for being an oppressive part of the modernist project of the nation state (Pierson, 1991). Leftwingers have criticized it for imposing bureaucratic forms of social control upon poor people living in working-class communities (Corrigan and Leonard, 1978). Those in the ‘new’ social movements have noted its capacity to reproduce oppressive social relations under the guise of providing care (Dominelli and McLeod, 1982; Dominelli, 1988; Hanmer and Statham, 1988; Oliver, 1990; Morris, 1991). Rightwing ideologues have complained about social workers’ capacity to throw money at social problems without producing the desired results. These they have identified as preventing families from breaking up, ensuring that parents take proper care of their children, keeping older people safe within the bosom of their families and controlling delinquent behaviour amongst juveniles (Murray, 1990, 1994).
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