Social Work or Social Police? The Penetration of Disciplinary Principles into Social Policy and Social Work

Radka Janebova

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the paper is to describe how the neoliberal discourse affects social policy and to reflect the actual effects of neoliberal social policy on social work in the Czech environment. THEORETICAL BASE: The text is based on the theory of criticism of neoliberalism by David Harvey and Loïc Wacquant. METHODS: The text is conceived as a theoretical essay investigating the analogy between the theory of criticism of neoliberalism and social work practice. OUTCOMES: Both foreign and Czech experience shows that the role of social work in the dominant neoliberal discourse is changing. On the one hand, there is a tendency to de-professionalization, where social work is being pushed and replaced by the practice of officials. On the other hand, social work is transforming itself into a highly controlling profession. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Social workers should begin to assess the impact of neoliberalism on their functioning as soon as possible and to reflect on the further development and future role of social work.

social work, social policy, neoliberalism, control, welfare surveillance, Labour Office

p. 5-22