Talkin’ Bout iGeneration: A New Era of Individualistic Social Work Practice?

Jane Fenton (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article considers the impact of generational changes on the new cohort of social work students most of whom were born post-1995, and therefore belong to ‘iGeneration’ (iGen).

This article is especially concerned with the finding that the generation before iGen is more right-wing authoritarian than all post-war generations and what this might mean for the future of social work should that trajectory continue. A study was undertaken to examine the attitudes of 122 iGen students in first-year university course in Scotland. Results show that mean attitudinal measures were right-wing authoritarian in relation to crime and punishment and to unemployed people. Social work students aligned more in their attitudes with their primary education colleagues and less with their less authoritarian community education colleagues, and, overall, the iGen cohort was significantly more right-wing authoritarian than their older colleagues. In essence, there was evidence to suggest that an individualistic, self-sufficiency neoliberal narrative had been quite profoundly internalised by the iGen cohort of students. Implications of a new individualistic practice are considered, and suggestions for social work education programmes are made.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcz099
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Early online date23 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • social work students
  • age
  • neoliberalism
  • right-wing
  • authoritarain

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