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Radical social work todaySocial work at the crossroads$
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Michael Lavalette

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428189

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428189.001.0001

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Why class (still) matters

Why class (still) matters

Chapter:
(p.115) seven Why class (still) matters
Source:
Radical social work today
Author(s):

Iain Ferguson

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847428189.003.0008

This chapter explores the extent to which class continues to matter for social work in Britain. It looks at three distinct but related aspects of class: class as social division and determinant of life chances; class as an explanatory framework, a way of making sense both of the experience of people who use social-work services and those who work in them; and class as agent of social change – the politics of class. The chapter also discusses John Hills et al.'s government-commissioned report entitled An anatomy of economic inequality in the UK, focusing on two key findings that relate to the themes of this chapter: inequalities in income and the levels of inequality between different social groups (such as women and minority ethnic communities), as well as the degree of inequality within them. In addition, it examines three main contemporary contenders for the role of an explanatory framework for poverty and inequality, as proposed by the American Marxist sociologist Erik Olin Wright.

Keywords:   Britain, class, social work, social division, politics, social change, Erik Olin Wright, income, poverty, inequality

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