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COVID-19 response – lessons learned: challenging the neoliberal TINA discourse through social work education
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2022-01-24, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.2018416
Maria Pentaraki

ABSTRACT

Social work academic literature has consistently documented the detrimental effects of the neoliberal phase of capitalism on society and has issued calls against it. This paper supports and furthers these claims. It is informed by a critical pedagogy and Gramscian lens and argues that the COVID-19 public health emergency context provides some lessons which can be used to discredit the ‘There is No Alternative’ (TINA) neoliberal discourse. More specifically, it argues that the pandemic offers an updated critique of the TINA discourse, as it revealed that there is an alternative to public spending cuts, that market-based solutions are irrelevant for the well-being of society, and that the social value of life-sustaining activities such as caring, is important for the social reproduction of society. This paper is a call for action to all social work educators who espouse the progressive values of our profession, to utilize these lessons learned and challenge neoliberalism. Relevant examples towards this aim are offered.