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Social Work and the Third Way
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Social Work and the Third Way
Tough Love as Social Policy

First Edition


October 2000 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`This lively book critiques New Labour assumptions and implementation of policies related to citizenship, communities and welfare reform and the implications of current developments for social work. Focusing explicitly on the UK, the book nevertheless draws on examples and comparisions from other countries (including notably Australia and the US, but also countries in the EU and Central and Eastern Europe), and some of the concerns and arguments will be appreciated by readers elsewhere' - International Social Work

`This book is a well-written contribution to both the British Third Way debate and the welfare state literature.... The book will appeal to upper-level undergraduates as well as scholars of British politics and the welfare state' - Political Studies

`Jordan begins by establishing New Labour's suspicion of local government framing its policy on welfare. Fundamentally, there exists a need for social workers to educate themselves as to the nature of this social experiment which New Labour has embarked upon. It challenges social workers to be aware…This is an interesting and at times challenging book, reiterating the history and roots of current ideology within government...The work is grounded in a contemporary context of social services and social work practice, challenging the withdrawal of social work behind a barrier of `managerialism, budget control, form filling…into office based assessment and rationing'… Finally, it offers a satisfying critique to the dominant `hegemonic' of `evidence-based practice', arguing for research at the level of means rather than the technical… Jordan similarly argues in his conclusion that all of the government white papers, guidelines, etc. indicate a lack of clarity of purpose and method social work should retain its belief in 'a human and creative activity… which engages with people's emotions… as well as their rights and obligations' - British Journal of Social Work

The New Labour government in the UK is committed to a programme of reform of the welfare state that will pull away safety nets and replace them by trampolines, to bounce citizens back into active participation. Its regime of 'tough love' will make more demands on those claiming benefits and services, as well as clamping down on dependencey, fraud and crime. This will be done by changing the culture of welfare agencies, towards promoting achievement and independence, as well as meeting 'genuine need'.

In Social Work and the Third Way, Bill Jordan provides an accessible and lively analysis of the tensions between 'toughness' and 'love' in the Third Way's political philosophy, and the problems of implementing New Labour's programme. He looks at the government's reliance on face-to-face methods for activating citizens and changing their behaviour in many of its initiatives. On the one hand, New Labour places a surprising amount of faith in the ability of counsellors and advisers to bring about the changes it requires; yet it is highly suspicious of the public sector in general, and local authorities in particular, as part of the 'forces of conservatism' in the UK. Hence it spawns new agencies and projects, often with a strong enforcement ethos, and regulates the whole implementation process through strict top-down surveillance.

In all this, professional social work, and local authority social services, are relegated to a tightly circumscribed role in social care. The author argues for a new, more generous and expansive approach to practice, which can do justice to the challenges of change under New Labour's regime and in doing so Social Work and the Third Way provides an important and topical contribution to the debate on the future of the Welfare State and will be essential reading for students and researchers in social work, social policy and politics.

 
The Dog That Didn't Bark
 
Values, Morals and Emotions
The Shifting Ethical Foundations of Social Work  
 
Reasons, Motives and Evidence
The Theoretical Basis of the Third Way and Social Work  
 
The Third Way in Local Authority Social Services
Modernization and Management  
 
Capacities and Empowerment
The Contradictions of the Third Way over Exclusions and Disabilities  
 
Social Work and Street Credibility
 
Social Work and Economic Activity
 
The Public Authority
Social Work and the State  
 
Front-Line Practice

`This lively book critiques New Labour assumptions and implementation of policies related to citizenship, communities and welfare reform and the implications of current developments for social work. Focusing explicitly on the UK, the book nevertheless draws on examples and comparisions from other countries (including notably Australia and the US, but also countries in the EU and Central and Eastern Europe), and some of the concerns and arguments will be appreciated by readers elsewhere' - International Social Work

`This book is a well-written contribution to both the British Third Way debate and the welfare state literature.... The book will appeal to upper-level undergraduates as well as scholars of British politics and the welfare state' - Political Studies

`Jordan begins by establishing New Labour's suspicion of local government framing its policy on welfare. Fundamentally, there exists a need for social workers to educate themselves as to the nature of this social experiment which New Labour has embarked upon. It challenges social workers to be aware…

This is an interesting and at times challenging book, reiterating the history and roots of current ideology within government… The work is grounded in a contemporary context of social services and social work practice, challenging the withdrawal of social work behind a barrier of `managerialism, budget control, form filling…into office based assessment and rationing'… Finally, it offers a satisfying critique to the dominant 'hegemonic' of 'evidence-based practice', arguing for research at the level of means rather than the technical… Jordan similarly argues in his conclusion that all of the government white papers, guidelines, etc. indicate a lack of clarity of purpose and method social work should retain its belief in 'a human and creative activity… which engages with people's emotions… as well as their rights and obligations' - British Journal of Social Work

'Of all Bill Jordan's outstanding books, this is the most important. He criticises New Labour for building a watchdog state. He grieves that social work has lost its soul to managerialism. Yet he argues that both could redeem themselves by working with not for or against the socially excluded. No other British author can match Bill Jordan for putting politics and social work together.'

Bob Holman, University of Glasgow

'A groundbreaking analysis of the types of interaction/negotiation between government and civil society on which third way politics and policy-making depend for their success. Jordan produces a vibrant critique of the concept of community lying behind much New Labour rhetoric …. For anyone sick to death of debates about social work focusing on a narrow consideration of methods and outcomes, this attempt to re-locate it within the pressing concerns of the reform process will come as a welcome relief.'

Steven Trevillion, Professor and Head of Department of Social Work,

Brunel University

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