Advertisement

Journal of Human Rights and Social Work

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 121–127 | Cite as

Right-wing Populism and Social Work: Contrasting Ambivalences About Modernity

Article

Abstract

Right-wing populism has become a major feature of the politics of many Western countries, and poses particular challenges for social work. This paper explores the contradictory relationships of both social work and right-wing populism to Enlightenment Modernity. Each embraces some elements of modernity but retreats from others. This analysis suggests that apparent commonalities—rejection of globalisation, empowerment rhetoric and opposition to neo-liberalism—are more apparent than real. On this basis, the paper argues that attempts by social work either to dialogue with or to accommodate the right-wing populist agenda are both futile and dangerous. Rather, it is important for social work not only to take a strong stand against neo-liberalism, but to also to articulate significant alternatives to the right-wing populist dystopia, and engage in principled activism, based on the values of social justice and human rights, and to work towards the realisation of such alternatives at community level.

Keywords

Right-wing populism Social work Modernity Neo-liberalism Human rights Dialogue 

References

  1. Allan, J., & Briskman, L. (Eds.). (2009). Critical social work: theories and practices for a socially just world. St Leonard’s: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  2. Berlet, C. & Lyons, M. (2016). http://www.rightwingpopulism.us.
  3. Brecher, J., & Costello, T. (1994). Global village or global pillage: economic reconstruction from the bottom up. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  4. Briskman, L., & Doe, J. (2016). Social work in dark places. Social Alternatives, 35(4), 73–79.Google Scholar
  5. Chowdhry, G., & Nair, S. (Eds.). (2004). Power, postcolonialism and international relations: reading race, gender and class. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Dominelli, L. (2012). Green social work: from environmental crises to environmental justice. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dominelli, L., & Campling, J. (2002). Anti-oppressive social work theory and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Edelstein, D. (2010). The enlightenment: A genealogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Giroux, H. (2017). The public in peril: Trump and the menace of American authoritarianism. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goodhart, D. (2017). The road to somewhere: the populist revolt and the future of politics. London: Hurst & Co..Google Scholar
  11. Gray, M., Coates, J., & Hetherington, T. (Eds.). (2012). Environmental social work. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Hind, D. (2007). The threat to reason: how the enlightenment was hijacked, and how we can reclaim it. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  13. Howe, D. (1994). Modernity, postmodernity and social work. British Journal of Social Work, 24(5), 513–532.Google Scholar
  14. Ife, J. (2012). Human rights and social work: towards right-based practice (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ife, J. (2016). Community development in an uncertain world: vision, analysis and practice (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keller, W. (2017). Democracy betrayed: the rise of the surveillance security state. Berkeley Calif: Counterpoint.Google Scholar
  17. Kunnen, N. (2005). Participation in Community Practice: Karaoke or Fugue? PhD thesis, Curtin University, Perth.Google Scholar
  18. Nepstad, S. (2015). Non-violent struggle: theories, strategies and dynamics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Nicholson, L. (1999). The play of reason: from the modern to the postmodern. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Pease, R., & Fook, J. (Eds.). (1999). Transforming social work practice: postmodern and critical perspectives. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Reichert, E. (Ed.). (2007). Challenges in human rights: a social work perspective. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Sim, S. (2004). Fundamentalist world: the new Dark Age of dogma. Crow’s Nest: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  23. Stove, D. (2003). On enlightenment. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  24. Wodak, R. (2015). The politics of fear: what right-wing populist discourses mean. London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversityParramattaAustralia

Personalised recommendations