Against difference and diversity in social work: the case of human rights

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37 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that the politics of the ‘right to difference’ and celebration of diversity in social work is a malign tendency that is symptomatic of the malaise of postmodernism and other fashionable trends in human rights discourse. It is
suggested that a normative concept of human rights as worked through postmodern preoccupations with difference and diversity is a morally bankrupt perspective. The fixation of the ‘right to difference’ in social work runs parallel with neoliberalism with its celebration of diversity. The article offers a set of conceptual devices for rethinking social work ethics through the writings of Alain Badiou.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • social work theory
  • human rights
  • ethics


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