SWAN Conf 2013: Call for papers and workshops

‘Defeating the politics of austerity: creating an alternative future’

Call for Papers and Workshop Proposals

As we move towards 2013 and society becomes increasingly unequal with social protection perilously eroded, the neoliberal consensus around austerity is starting to falter and fracture.

Social workers and care employees work with families and communities struggling with the cumulative impact of cuts: parents who are forced to choose between feeding their children and paying the rent; people who are out of work or forced onto ‘workfare’ programmes; disabled people who are vilified by the government and media as unproductive scroungers while having their support for independence and employment snatched away from them. Whilst retrenchment deepens, marketisation progresses in social care as multinational companies such as Serco, G4S and Virgin profit from welfare delivery.  Meanwhile, the UK government ‘s collusion with News Corp, rate-fixing by Barclays Bank and the reduction of the top rate of tax on the rich all underline social injustice and feed the anger of people already enslaved to paying for an economic crisis caused by a pursuit of the free market.

Social workers and social care workers are themselves attacked through redundancies, pay cuts and higher workloads; many struggle to practice ethically whilst expected to work with the context of welfare cuts.

Yet social workers and service users are also witnessing and participating in the fight back to defend the welfare state. Likewise, they are involved in social movements that are developing alternative visions of social care and welfare based on collective benefit.  This year’s SWAN conference will provide an opportunity to share strategies in the struggle against cuts and marketisation of services, and to challenge the hardship these create. Join social work and care practitioners, service users, carers, educators, students and other activists to defend, debate and create alternative visions of social care and welfare.

We welcome papers and workshop proposals on the main conference themes:

•    Privatisation in care (e.g. G4S, Virgin, Atos): alternatives to outsourcing
•    The disability movement
•    Anti-racist/anti-fascist social work practice
•    Work with asylum seekers
•    Women and the cuts
•    User-led groups and community campaigns
•    How to do it in practice: radical social work in 2013 in state and voluntary sector social work
•    Radical social work education
•    Big society vs big state – should we take sides? Big Society, community social work and the role of the state in the provision of social work services.
•    Other themes relevant to the conference

We would like to encourage activists and practitioners as well as academics to submit ideas.  We hope to have workshops where people can engage in debate as well as having more formal papers presented.

Please send proposals (200 – 300 words) to swanconf2013 [at] gmail.com by 31st January 2013 and indicate the aims of the session, whether presentation or workshop and the content.  Please include a cover sheet with your name and contact details.  You will receive confirmation of whether your proposal is accepted in early March 2013. All those who are accepted to present at the conference must book a place at the conference.

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