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Issues » 2019/3 - Influence of Changes in the Society on Social Work »

Adéla Recmanová

Privatization of Social Work in the Context of Neoliberalism


OBJECTIVES: The objective is to critically reflect on the current consequences of the process of the privatization of social work. THEORETICAL BASE: Social work has evolved and been shaped within a wider socio-cultural, political-legislative and economic environment. Many processes that take place at national, international and global levels, as well as within the dominant streams of thought, have been influencing social work. The paper focuses on the process of privatization, framed by the ideas of neoliberalism. METHODS: Document analysis. OUTCOMES: The privatization of social work has instigated the development of unregulated, unregistered and uncontrolled providers of so-called “social” services. According to foreign practice, privatization may result especially in the fragmentation of social services and the role of social workers, and in the disruption of professional autonomy, as well as in deprofessionalization, the growth of technicism, or even in the erosion of social work values. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The paper presents the possibilities of social work in response to the process of privatization and the penetration of neoliberal ideas into its practice.


social work, privatization, marketization, consumerization, economization, managerialization, financialization, neoliberalism

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