Empowerment as biopolitical: the case of Roma people in the Czech Republic

Eva Kourova, Prof Stephen Webb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, the authors consider the marginal horizons of empowerment on a concrete case of the Roma people in the Czech Republic. The authors draw on critical social work scholarship through which they explore a concrete case of social work intervention, the case of social work intervention that effectively leads to greater disadvantages and racism of the Roma people in the Czech locality. We deploy the concept of "exclusive inclusion" to unpick the neoliberal influences on empowerment via work of Giorgio Agamben and to a lesser degree by Roberto Esposito. With the case of social work engagement with the Roma people in Czech Republic, the authors argue that social work practice as a profession is in serious need of deep critical reflection on existing practice and the so-called progressive values, practices that are also shaped by exclusion, despite them having a veneer of inclusivity and empowerment in the rhetoric.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of International Critical Social Work
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives and Agendas
EditorsStephen A. Webb
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003211969
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


  • empowerment
  • biopolitical
  • Roma people
  • Czech Republic
  • social work


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