In Part 11 considered the forces and processes of change at a pace and in a manner designed to create awareness on the part of readers of the scale of what has occurred in the various contexts where social workers find themselves. The message was (I hope) clear — there is no going back. The conditions under which social work was established, especially in the post-World War II modernist welfare regimes, have been utterly transformed. Economic globalization has had significant consequences and national economies (both North and South) have been reconstructed with a range of often devastating (but at a minimum, disturbing) costs. Similarly, the political consensus between capital and labor which developed in the post-war decades has broken down and the state has transformed itself, particularly the liberal ‘Anglo’ states. In those countries, the relationship between the state and the people, encapsulated metaphorically and practically in the notion of citizenship, has been fundamentally re-constructed, so much so that contemporary ‘citizens’ struggle to articulate, much less activate social rights. Instead, the ‘neo-citizens’ of neoliberal states are a divided lot, increasingly pitted against each other by governments more attuned to the needs of capital. Finally, the intellectual edifice which supported the project of modernity, of welfare and of social work has been destabilized by the criticisms of contemporary theory. In the eyes of its supporters, any comfort social workers might have drawn from the profession’s alleged humanist and emancipatory impulses is diminished in the face of its sceptical gaze.
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