Policy and identity change in youth social work: From social-interventionist to neoliberal policy paradigms

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

3 Citationer (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)


_ Summary: This article analyses – by drawing on ideology critical and psychoanalytical concepts from Slavoj Zizek and Glynos et al. – how political, social and fantasmatic logics interplay and form social workers’ professional identities within two youth social work institutions that operate within different social policy paradigms: a socialinterventionist paradigm in 2002 and a neoliberal paradigm in 2010.
_ Findings: The article shows how the current neoliberalisation of public policy permeates social work practices through fantasmatic narratives that create professional identities to heal discrepancies in and conceal the political dimension of everyday life. In one institution, within a welfare state-based ideology a compensating-including social professional identity is created in response to the young people’s alleged deficiencies; in the other institution, within a neoliberal ideology a mobilising-motivating identity is created to meet the young people’s alleged excess. In both narratives, however, the young people risk bearing the blame for the failure of the social professional project.
_ Applications: Fantasies in both institutions conceal how social workers’ professional identities sustain dominant ideology through dislocating uncertainties, ambiguities and ambivalences implicated in professional social work. Whether rooted in the state-based welfare or market-oriented neoliberal policy paradigms, realisation of these dynamics may expose the basic interdependencies of state, civil society and market actors implicated in the project of professional social work.
TidsskriftJournal of Social Work
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)470-490
StatusUdgivet - 2017