Goetz Ottmann (Australia)

Carolyn Noble, Australian College of Applied Professions
Topic: Post-Pandemic Welfare and Social Work
Language: English 


This presentation offers a critical commentary to the social, political, and cultural shifts that underpin the post-pandemic ‘new normal’. We argue that the pandemic revealed the cracks in welfare systems resulting from decades of underfunding demanding a rethink of the value and function of the welfare state and social work within it. COVID-19 has reminded us of our vulnerability and dependence on others. It has debunked the myth of the ideal of the self-contained, self-sufficient, and independent subject at the core of liberal political and moral philosophy that is also manifest in pre-COVID-19 interpretations of welfare and visions of care. The presentation argues that post-pandemic welfare must be expanded to include relational aspects that link all beings in their inter-dependence with the planetary ecosystem. We affirm the political dimension of Critical social work and argue for a rethinking of social work as a strategic activity where social workers are taking on a networked leadership role promoting grassroots activism and more democratic decision-making toward a more sustainable and equitable future.