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Returning the ‘Social’ to Social Work: Recommitting to Social Development in an Age of Neoliberalism

Ashok Gladston Xavier, Abigail Ornellas, Gary Spolander, Carmelo Busceme


In the context of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation there is a tendency to
marketise and monetise essential services. Erstwhile fundamental services that were
considered to be life saving are being marketed and sold. Education soon followed the
same trend; unsurprisingly the profession of social work also is being subjected to the
treatment of the markets in an uncharacteristic manner. Social work and social welfare
are being regarded as marketable services. This has lead to an exclusivist approach
which is fundamentally different from the tenets of the profession. This paper explores
the way social work is transforming under economic liberalisation as a response to this

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