Social work, class and later life

Hafford-Letchfield, Trish ORCID logoORCID: (2013) Social work, class and later life. In: Social class in later life: power, identity and lifestyle. Formosa, Marvin and Higgs, Paul, eds. The Policy Press, Bristol. ISBN 9781447300588. [Book Section]


This chapter discusses expert practice and the provision of social work with older people in the UK in the context of increasing complexity and uncertainty following wholesale structural change, neo-liberalism, and universal adoption of economic rationalism, managerialism and fiscal restraint. Notable retreat of government from provision and funding of care alongside promotion of individualisation have combined to reduce eligibility for services, with increasing evidence of widening inequalities and social exclusion. This chapter considers how social work has positioned itself in relation to the continuing significance of class within access to social care services by suggesting that the lack of structural analysis or critical exploration of social problems faced in later life has given rise to a preoccupation with increasing bureaucracy and helping people adjust to personal and social circumstances in a reductionist approach. A multi-layered approach using strategies such as advocacy, lobbying, coalition building, increasing social awareness and supporting social movements to increase community participation in the political processes are discussed alongside strategies where social workers support individuals to make connections which acknowledge class, poverty and power differences in society.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords (uncontrolled): Social work, class, poverty, older people
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 11447
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Depositing User: Trish Hafford-Letchfield
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2013 05:40
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 16:21

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