Welfare Words:: Critical Social Work & Social Policy (Paperback)
  • Welfare Words:: Critical Social Work & Social Policy (Paperback)

Welfare Words:: Critical Social Work & Social Policy (Paperback)

Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 06/11/2017
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`An impassioned and thorough dissection of the highly coded lexicon of so-called welfare reform...get reading, get angry, get ready'. - Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London

Welfare Words analyses the keywords and phrases commonly used by policy-makers, news-outlets and wider society, when referring to social policy, welfare reform and social work in the present-day culture of neoliberal capitalism.

Examining how power relations operate through language and culture, it encourages readers to:

Question how welfare words fit within a wider economic and cultural context riven with gross social inequalitiesDisrupt taken-for-granted meanings within mainstream social work and social policyThink more deeply, critically and politically about the incessant usage of specific words and phrases.

Written by an authoritative voice in the field, Paul Michael Garrett makes sense of complex theories which codify everyday experience, giving readers vital tools to better understand and change their social worlds.

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
ISBN: 9781473968974
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 510 g
Dimensions: 242 x 170 mm

What I found most striking about this book was the way Garrett shows the changing meanings of keywords over time and in relation to wider social developments. Many terms now used to maintain a neoliberal agenda and societal status quo, often had more progressive and, often, revolutionary meaning behind them. Such an insight should alert us to the need not to take any term at face value but interrogate it in order to discover what it signifies at any historical juncture and particular social context. Garrett has provided us with a valuable analysis of the language of welfare and of the political uses and misuses of keywords that are ubiquitous within the field of social welfare, social policy, social work and the wider public. I highly recommend it for all levels of study within such disciplines as well as those of politics, sociology, media and cultural studies. It is also required reading for academics and politically engaged members of the public, indeed anyone with an interest in, understanding contemporary society. -- Kenneth McLaughlin, Journal of Political Power
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 * The Sociological Review *
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
Garrett's book is intellectually compelling as well as inspiring in the way it systematically exposes the neoliberal myths in unequal societies. It will inspire the readership to work for social justice in social policy and society. -- Niels Rosendal Jensen, European Journal of Social Work
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
This is a fascinating and rich book, which documents the central place of language in the (re)production of social order and the importance of welfare words in delineating the parameters of our collective imagination. -- Tracey Jensen

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
Garrett's book critically examines the language of welfare to enable consideration of the historical, political and cultural standpoints that underpin welfare discourses. Through employing the phrase "Welfare Words" he invites us to analytically examine (or re-examine) the power and motivations contained within welfare discourses. Garrett provides the reader with an insightful consideration of the role of language in social welfare service provisions. The book succeeds in clearly demonstrating how neoliberal ideology oppresses and blames and, in doing so, it dispels neoliberal discourse -challenging the reader to reframe the language of oppressive practice norms. -- Kelly J. Smith, University of Waikato - Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work
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

A must-read for critical social policy theorists but also for anyone alarmed at how neoliberal capitalism has stigmatized every aspect of social rights. Garrett'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
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
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

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
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
Garrett invites scholars, students and professionals to think about the role of language in welfare decisions [and] he provides valid instruments to cultivate a new way of thinking about welfare issues, new modes of resistance and political approaches "in and beyond social work and policy"
-- Francesca Bragaglia

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