Feminism under siege: critical reflections on the impact of neoliberalism and managerialism on feminist practice

Carrington, Ann (2016) Feminism under siege: critical reflections on the impact of neoliberalism and managerialism on feminist practice. In: Pease, Bob, Goldingay, Sophie, Hosken, Norah, and Nipperess, Sharlene, (eds.) Doing Critical Social Work: transformative practices for social justice. Allen & Unwin , Crows Nest, NSW, Australia, pp. 226-240.

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Abstract

[Extract] This chapter focuses on the 'doing' aspect of feminist practice in an Australian political and organisational environment, which I argue is steeped in the neoliberal agenda. The chapter discusses some key constraints and practical responses to feminist social work practice in terms of the sector that deals with domestic violence and sexual assault in the current climate of neoliberalism and managerialism. Through a critical reflective process, it is acknowledged that the culture, structure and policy frameworks articulated by neoliberal and managerialist positions have impacted on feminist practices. These impacts are often simply perceived as a negative; yet it is proposed here that tensions created in the current context may also provide an opportunity for subversive feminist practices with key organisations to further feminist agendas and social change. Although located in a specific sector, it is suggested that the experiences reflected upon here, and the practice responses discussed, are transferable. Through reflection on practice, five key areas impacted by the neoliberal and managerialist agenda were identified: stifling of activism, collaboration and partnership, keeping gender on the agenda, management and education and training. Although these five key areas have been identified, these are all components of the larger threat of the current environment-that being attempts to dismantle feminist practices. This chapter speaks to the practical application of feminist social work in each of the identified areas with the overarching focus of practice being to maintain the feminist gains that have been made to 'hold the line' and to advance feminist practices in a hostile political environment.

Item ID: 44754
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
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ISBN: 978-1-76011-084-0
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2016 23:28
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940113 Gender and Sexualities @ 30%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940199 Community Service (excl. Work) not elsewhere classified @ 70%
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