Marginalised groups protest against social welfare and public health: conceptualising the challenge for social workers
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Social Work. 2020, 23, 1-12 10.1080/13691457.2020.1818059
As neoliberalisation and other global disruptions change the understanding of human rights and social justice for social workers, how are protests organised by marginalised groups against social welfare and public health regimes understood and participated, or even resisted, by social workers? Although there is a vast literature on protest and community organising in the social work tradition, there is less exploration of marginalised groups organising against the systems in which social workers are employed, thereby leading to dilemmas for social workers. Hence, more knowledge is necessary about social workers’ capability to respond to such protests. Using collective action and social movement theories, this paper introduces a conceptual framework in order to identify key factors and variables when marginalised groups organise against social welfare and public health regimes and social workers are involved. The conceptual framework concerns social workers’ value negotiation of human rights and social justice principles, collective action framing, ethical decision-making, and ultimately, the thought process behind a social worker’s response to collective actions against social welfare and public health regimes.