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Welfare Words:

Welfare Words:
Critical Social Work & Social Policy

October 2017 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Insightful and engaging, Welfare Words provides a critical analysis of social work and social policy in its articulation and discussion of a number of significant words and phrases. Written by an authoritative voice in the field, Paul Michael Garrett makes sense of complex theories which codify everyday experience, giving students and practitioners vital tools to better understand and change their social worlds.

Lucid and accessible in style, Garrett offers an innovative approach to the study of Social Welfare, encouraging readers to think critically about the key issues in social work and social policy, including welfare dependency, social inclusion and exclusion, underclasses, anti-social behaviour, and more.  
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Conceptual Lens
Chapter 3: Welfare Dependency
Chapter 4: Underclass
Chapter 5: Social Exclusion
Chapter 6: Early Intervention
Chapter 7: Resilience
Ch. 8: Care
Ch. 9: Adoption
Chapter 10: Conclusion

Rigorous, meticulously researched and edgy, Garrett’s new book seeks to understand the ideology underlying welfare words and by doing so, exposes the power and oppression operating through them. Read this book; it is the antidote to those who say that social work cannot be both a deeply intellectual and social justice-engaged endeavour.

Donna Baines
University of Sydney

This is a significant new work. It highlights the crucial importance of the power of “welfare words” [and] maps the development and use of these terms against a backdrop of welfare retrenchment, increasing inequality and austerity. It provides a clear insight into the way that a neoliberal vocabulary of welfare has played a powerful role in structuring debates in these fields. It is a well written and argued text, which is superbly researched. Essential reading for all those interested in developing a critical social work mode of practice but also those with an interest in critical social policy.

Ian Cummins
Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford
The Sociological Review

 This is an engaging and engaged revisiting of the cultural excavation of ‘key words’ pioneered by Raymond Williams. Garrett presents an impassioned and thorough dissection of some of the most important ‘key words’ of our time, the highly coded lexicon of so-called welfare reform. What you will learn about the histories of containment and struggle sedimented within each term will enrage and energise – get reading, get angry, get ready.

Gargi Bhattacharyya
University of East London

Paul Garrett's important new book highlights the power of language when it comes to social welfare. Focusing on some of the most crucial keywords of welfare discourse in the neoliberal era, he plots their politics, illuminating their complicity in enacting disciplinary practices of client subordination, but also how their incompleteness leaves an opening for resistance and revision. His politically engaged linguistic interventions help us think about how to take steps toward less oppressive and more affirmative forms of service provision. This is a must read for social workers and social theorists alike, especially if they are interested in moving beyond the strictures of neoliberalism's oppressive disciplinary regime.

Sanford F. Schram
Hunter College, CUNY

Paul Michael Garrett’s Welfare Words takes a modern, fresh look at the language of welfare. He calls upon the reader to re-visit the impact of language upon welfare choices and interventions and in doing so makes an accessible and relevant call to arms to challenge inequality and social exclusion. This book will be the go-to text for students of social work and social policy for many years to come.  It is an outstanding text and highly recommended.

Lel Meleyal
University of Sussex

A must-read for critical social policy theorists but also for anyone alarmed at how neoliberal capitalism has stigmatized every aspect of social rightsGarrett’s lens of analysis of welfare keywords – dependency, underclass, social exclusion, resilience -  brings out sharply how neoliberal language stereotypes and marginalizes working class people and steers deep social problems into the woefully inadequate channels of individualism. Welfare Words, provides a timely counter-voice to the neoliberal policies which have devastated our post-austerity world. 

Marnie Holborow
Dublin City University

This is an original and insightful book, which offers us a fresh perspective on some of the key themes and challenges in social work. It will prompt new thinking and provide practitioners with important critical tools to support their interventions.

Roger S. Smith
University of Durham

Paul Garrett provides an illuminating analysis of key terms that proliferate within contemporary welfare and political discourse. He examines each term in detail, exploring the origins, meanings and contradictions of each and perceptively shows the way they are used, and misused, within today’s political and welfare system. This book is essential reading for those wishing to understand the complexities behind terms that are not only ubiquitous within the political realm but which have also entered common discourse.

Dr Ken McLaughlin
Manchester Metropolitan University

Garrett’s book offers a comprehensive approach to the study of Social policy in social work, encouraging readers to think critically about key words in their wider historical, political and cultural context. Drawing on an innovative conceptual lens in which to view social welfare, this is a key text for critical social work and social policy. 

Karen Roscoe
University of Wolverhampton

Paul Michael Garrett's new book provides valuable insights into the role of cultural and ideological forces in shaping a society's characterization of human needs and in developing policy responses to persistent social and economic issues. The book begins with an in-depth analysis of these forces and then applies its sophisticated conceptual framework to contemporary problems such as welfare dependency, social exclusion, and social care. In an era in which language, facts, and "truth" are increasingly distorted to rationalize regressive approaches to social welfare, the book provides readers with a clearer understanding of the origins and implications of anti-welfare perspectives and with an alternate lens to interpret contemporary social and political phenomena.

Michael Reisch
University of Maryland

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