The Obsession of Social Work with Risk Management and Resignation to Needs

Radka Janebova

OBJECTIVES: The text seeks answers to questions about the current obsession of social work with risks, and what the emphasis on the risks during the assessment of the life situation of people can lead to in terms of its consequences for the emancipatory mission of social work. THEORETICAL BASE: It is based on the theory of risk society of Ulrich Beck and a critique of the neoliberalism of David Harvey and Loïc Wacquant. METHODS: It is conceived as a theoretical essay. A qualitative content analysis of Czech, as well as international sources, was undertaken in order to achieve the goals. OUTCOMES: An emphasis on risks can act as an obstacle to the emancipation of people and, on the contrary, as a tool of oppression when it leads to the overlooking of the structural causes of problems, the blaming of people for their problems, and to bifurcation. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The awareness of the hazards of work with risks can help to develop critically reflexive ways of working on the assessment of the life situation of people, as well as during the planning of further work with clients.

social work, risks, assessment, risk society, neoliberalism