Taking a political stance in social work

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Taking a political stance in social work necessarily involves a close historical examination of the influence of social and economic structure as well as the constituting context of relations of domination. It also involves articulating an ontology of the political subject. We maintain that the proper conceptual space for understanding the possibility of taking a political stance is that of political ontology. In defining this space we draw on issues raised in The New Politics of Social Work (Gray and Webb, 2013) bringing together aspects of social structure and agency for radical social work. We ask against which principles a radical social work stance might be judged and question the extent to which it can be positioned as a counter-strategy to both neoliberal capitalism and mainstream social work. The article plots the implications and meaning of the 'new politics of social work' – conceived of as a 'New Social Work Left'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 357-369
Number of pages13
JournalCritical and Radical Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2014


  • New Social Work Left
  • politics of agency
  • structure
  • neoliberal capitalism
  • Agamben


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