Social exclusion, neoliberalism and resistance: The role of social workers in implementing social policies in Chile

Gianinna Muñoz Arce*, Christina Pantazis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
388 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The views of social workers in Chile are rarely heard and considered in the policy debates. This article addresses this lacuna by examining discourses of social exclusion and underlying assumptions held by social workers with responsibility for implementing social policy interventions in Chile. It draws upon the findings of a study involving interviews with senior social workers from two large non-governmental organisations (NGOs) tackling social exclusion. We found that individual-based narratives and neoliberal rationality are dominant in the implementation of Chilean social policy. At the same time, anti-hegemonic strategies pursued by some social workers were also identified. Such an approach is highly relevant in the Chilean context, in which power imbalances remain almost untouched since the return of democratic regimes in the 1990s. The study findings pose diverse challenges to Chilean social policy and social work professional training. The necessity of promoting transformative imaginations that favour collective practices of resistance is identified to counteract, through a critical discourse, the neoliberal rationale, its rhetoric and practices affecting excluded people’s lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Social Policy
Volume39
Issue number1
Early online date29 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • neoliberalism
  • resistance
  • social exclusion
  • social policy
  • social workers

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