Edited by Iain Ferguson and Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University Press, £5.95
The emergence of radical social work in the 1970s was immersed in a clear social and class based analysis of poverty and inequality and their stunting impact on children and families. It came out of a period of growing working class militancy and its perspectives placed the capitalist system at the centre of social ills. The impact of Thatcherism, of aggressive marketisation, that has accelerated under New Labour, threatens to turn social work into a profession marred by target setting, defensiveness and obsession with the bottom line. This pamphlet seeks to provide a useful antidote to these trends and to stimulate a more progressive debate about the future of social work.
There is a hunger for this debate and for it to be linked to action that can challenge the pathologising of children and families and the scapegoating of those who work with them. The call by all the pamphlet's contributors for the rediscovery of the tradition of radical social work was never more necessary. Social work has always struggled under the duality of care and control. This pamphlet calls for a new social work method of care and support; of resilience, resourcefulness and resistance. It should be read by every social worker, manager and student.
There is much to agree with and much to provoke discussion. Agree or disagree, you will not be left untouched.