ABSTRACT

The dominance of economic paradigms reveals itself to social workers in a number of ways, including the increased corporatisation of the human services sector, including contractual arrangements which see services delivered less and less by government itself. Social workers are both perpetrators and victims in this process. Feminist, anti-racist, postcolonial and human rights perspectives in social work are also informed by revised versions of critical theory. Unlike structuralist Marxists, who spoke about the inevitability of the structural contradictions of capitalism in bringing about transformation, critical theorists stressed the importance of people’s agency—that is, their capacity to be actively involved in the process of social change. Most critical theorists are concerned with emancipatory education that enables people to see the links between their experiences and the material conditions and dominant ideologies in society.