Working with Men: Feminism and Social Work

Working with Men: Feminism and Social Work

Working with Men: Feminism and Social Work

Working with Men: Feminism and Social Work

Synopsis

One of feminism's key contributions to improving social work practice has been to expose the gender-blindness which has characterized social work policy and literature.
Working with Menextends and diversifies this contribution by presenting a controversial collection of essays written by feminists about men. In what has been a previously unexplored area of social work, the contributors to Working with Men, feminist academics, researchers and practitioners, explore the issue of feminist practice with men highlighting the dilemmas which they have encountered in undertaking this work. They contend that for too long feminists have ignored the issue of direct work with men. The argument that men must take responsibility for their own reconstruction they assert is no longer sustainable: feminists must generate their own discourse about the nature of men and masculinity derived from their own experience of critically engaging with and challenging men. The contributors conclude that direct work with men is a legitimate feminist activity; that it is one important strand of a broader strategy whose ultimate goal is the empowerment of women.
This book will be valuable reading for all students of social work and applied social science as well as social work practitioners and managers.

Excerpt

In the 1990s the perception of a crisis of welfare systems has become universal across the Western world. the coincidence of global economic slump and the ending of the Cold War has intensified pressures to reduce welfare spending at the same time that Western governments, traditional social institutions and political parties all face unprecedented problems of legitimacy. Given the importance of welfare policies in securing popular consent for existing regimes and in maintaining social stability, welfare budgets have in general proved remarkably resilient even in face of governments proclaiming the principles of austerity and self-reliance.

Yet the crisis of welfare has led to measures of reform and retrenchment which have provoked often bitter controversy in virtually every sphere, from hospitals and schools to social security benefits and personal social services. What is striking is the crumbling of the old structures and policies before any clear alternative has emerged. the general impression is one of exhaustion and confusion. There is a widespread sense that everything has been tried and has failed and that nobody is very clear about how to advance into an increasingly bleak future.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the agenda of free market antistatism has provided the cutting edge for measures of privatisation. the result has been a substantial shift in the ‘mixed economy’ of welfare towards a more market-orientated approach. But it has not taken long for the defects of the market as a mechanism for social regulation to become apparent. Yet now that the inadequacy of the market in providing equitable or even efficient welfare services is exposed, where else is there to turn?

The State of Welfare series aims to provide a critical assessment

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