The Question of the Professionalization of Social Work: The Dream of Prestige Should Be Replaced by a Commitment to the Oppressed

Radka Janebova


OBJECTIVES: The aim of the article is to find out how critics of the neoliberalization of social work reflect on professionalization, and how the identified reflections are present in the Czech discussion on professionalization. THEORETICAL BASE: The approaches are based on the critique of neoliberalism. METHODS: To achieve the first part of the goal, a study of literature written in English on critical practice and anti-oppressive approaches in social work was used. For the second part, texts from the Czech discussion on the professional act and public documents of the most important professional associations and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs were analyzed. OUTCOMES: A study of the articles by critical authors has shown that professionalization is an ambivalent instrument. On the one hand, it can lead to collaboration with the anti-social system in the promotion of professional interests; on the other hand, it can be a useful platform for the promotion of client rights. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Most Czech social workers striving to professionalize social work probably associate it with the idea of modern professionalism. From the point of view of the presented perspectives, new professionalization seems to be a more suitable way.


critical practice, anti-oppressive approaches, neoliberalism, professionalization, professionalism, trade unions

p. 76-93

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