Social work, class and later life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter discusses expert practice and the provision of social work with older people in the UK, in the context of increasing complexity and uncertainty following wholesale structural change, neo-liberalism, and universal adoption of economic rationalism, managerialism and fiscal restraint. Notable retreat of government from provision and funding of care alongside promotion of individualisation have combined to reduce eligibility for services, with increasing evidence of widening inequalities and social exclusion. This chapter considers how social work has positioned itself in relation to the continuing significance of class within access to social care services by suggesting that the lack of structural analysis or critical exploration of social problems faced in later life has given rise to a preoccupation with increasing bureaucracy and helping people adjust to personal and social circumstances in a reductionist approach. A multi-layered approach is discussed using strategies such as advocacy, lobbying, coalition building, increasing social awareness and supporting social movements to increase community participation in the political processes, alongside strategies where social workers support individuals to make connections which acknowledge class, poverty and power differences in society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Class in Later Life
Subtitle of host publicationPower, Identity and Lifestyle
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781447309482
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • social work
  • social class
  • social care
  • older people
  • personalized care


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