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Blaming-the-poor: strengths and development discourses which obfuscate neo-liberal and individualist ideologies.

Harms Smith, Linda

Authors

Linda Harms Smith

Abstract

Critical interrogation of social work texts reveals ideologies contributing to hegemonic 'taken-for-granted' knowledge that maintains oppressive power relations. In the South African context of ongoing inequality after the 1994 democratic transition, neo-liberal ideologies have structured and constrained social work knowledge and practice constitutive of social change. Similarly, conservative neo-liberal ideologies underpinning social work knowledge and discourse act performatively to shape practice and social realities. This article, based on a section of the author's PhD study, examines one of the thematic ideological trends found in post-1994 social work texts on poverty and social development, which reflect neo-liberal, individualist ideologies of 'blaming-the-poor' and personal culpability for poverty. A selection of three texts is discussed, illustrating processes and modes of operation of these ideologies in the various approaches proposed.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2017
Journal International social work
Print ISSN 0020-8728
Electronic ISSN 1461-7234
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 2
Pages 336-350
Institution Citation HARMS SMITH, L. 2017. Blaming-the-poor: strengths and development discourses which obfuscate neo-liberal and individualist ideologies. International social work [online], 60(2), pages 336-350. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872815594218
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872815594218
Keywords Blaming the poor; Development; Ideology; Individualist; Neoliberalism; Social work; Strengths perspectives

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