How the social sciences accommodate themselves to conservative Anglosphere neoliberalism. To the right: one Anglo-Canadienne, CEO of a small North American “critical” identity therapy factory, AKA institutional ethnography. Legions of brown people, working class intellectuals, and women, paid in MAs and PhDs instead of money–in fact often paying the State–to conduct Canadian integration social work. The more things change, the more they stay Victorian.
“…(W)e are witnessing the emergence of a new form of multipurpose social work accompanying the collective shift toward neoliberalism: on the one hand, this provides work, in the manner of the Ateliers nationaux in an earlier era, for people with devalued academic qualifications (many of them wholehearted, committed people) by setting them to supervise others in a homologous position; on the other hand, it keeps the academic rejects out of mischief by offering them make-work, making them wage earners without wages, entrepreneurs without an enterprise, continuing students with no hope of qualifications or degrees.
All these programs of social supervision, which foster a kind of collective self-mystification by, among other things, blurring the boundary between work and nonwork, between study and work, and a belief in a sham universe whose symbol is the idea of the ‘project’, rest on a ‘charitable’ social philosophy and a ‘soft’ sociology that regards itself as based on ‘understanding’ and which, purporting to adopt the standpoint of the ‘subjects’ it wishes to set in action (‘action sociology’), ends up endorsing the mystified and mystifying vision of social work (by contrast with a rigorous sociology which, from that standpoint, is doomed to appear deterministic and pessimistic because it takes account of structures and their effects.)”
–Pierre Bourdieu, Pp. 35-36 in “The Invisible Hand of the Powerful,” from “Firing Back: Against the Tyranny of the Market” (2001).