Widening the securitisation net in social work

McKendrick, David and Finch, Jo (2022) Widening the securitisation net in social work. In: The Routledge Handbook of International Critical Social Work. Routledge International Handbooks . Routledge, Abingdon, England, pp. 205-218. ISBN 9781032078885

Full text not available from this repository.


There has long been an acceptance that social workers fill a variety of roles within and on behalf of the state. The inherent contradiction of a profession whose ethics and value base promote emancipation and empowerment working within the structures of the state represents a contradiction in social work practice and the academy. This chapter argues that there has been a securitisation creep in the UK government policies which impacts significantly on social work practice. Such securitisation can be seen, for example, in the emergency legislation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the PREVENT policy. Politicians and leaders have been keen to characterise this as a war against a highly infectious and rapidly
spreading contagion that has seen unprecedented changes to the ways in which we live our lives and go about our daily activities. Restrictions on social gatherings and instructions to remain at home have created a period of extended lockdown where rights and liberties that were hard fought for have been suspended. This chapter will explore the current uncertainties and ambiguities of the role of the social work profession in these remarkable times. We demonstrate the ways in which securitisation, authoritarianism, neoliberalism and militarised language become entangled and combine to produce new forms of social work practice that will require ongoing careful consideration and critical exploration. We describe
the ways in which ideas about security have come to the fore in social work and the ways in which social workers are now required to both support and uncritically adopt the imposition of coercive restrictions that are mobilised to ensure compliance with a variety of new policies and laws. This, we argue, is in direct contradiction to the origins and value-based aims of the profession of social work. We begin with a brief overview of the UK PREVENT policy and briefly consider its impact in social work practice.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: social work, securitisation, UK
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Jo Finch
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 12:37
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2022 12:37
URI: https://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2808

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item