'Downpressor man': securitisation, safeguarding and social work

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The Counter Terrorism and Security Act came into force in July 2015 in the UK. This places a statutory duty on many front-line organisations, for example, schools, social services and prisons, to work within the PREVENT agenda, a policy arising from Britain's overall counterterrorism policy, CONTEST. We argue that PREVENT is representative of increasingly securitised social policies that serve to: first, view people within particular individualised neoliberal discourses and thin narratives; and, second, coerce the profession of social work into hitherto unknown areas, namely, national security and counterterrorism. We note the unapologetic linkage of traditional forms of what we term here 'welfare safeguarding', customarily the domain of social work, with what we term 'security safeguarding'. If the profession of social work in the UK, and we suspect other Western regimes, wishes to avoid becoming a profession of 'downpressor men', the uncritical incursion into issues of national security and counterterrorism must be highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalCritical and Radical Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date12 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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