Capitalism and Neoliberalism

  • Lynelle WattsEmail author
  • David Hodgson


Capitalism and neoliberalism are widely critiqued in social work. Neoliberalism in particular is considered a problematic form of economic and social philosophy that is detrimental to human and ecological well-being and leads to the dismantling of social welfare. As such, neoliberalism is criticised on the grounds that it is an anathema to social justice. Critiques of neoliberalism in the social work literature posit that neoliberalism is deeply implicated in various injustices and contend that social work must challenge neoliberal discourses, hegemony and practice. However, these descriptions of neoliberalism suffer from a lack of conceptual clarity. This chapter will draw on critical and post-structural literature to explain the liberal, Marxist and Keynesian perspectives on capitalism, outline the neoliberal critique in social work, and describe in detail the historical and contemporary formation of neoliberalism.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityBunburyAustralia

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