Ethics in an individualised field of practice: Social pedagogy in the context of the neoliberal organisation

Bidragets oversatte titel: Professionsetik i Social Pædagogik i en Neoliberal tidsalder: Skitse til en Gavmildhedensetik

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Writing from a Danish social pedagogical perspective, the author raises concerns about the difficulty of developing and integrating ethical reflection within the organization in the context of Neoliberalism. While ethical reflection in Social Pedagogy tends to focus on the relationship between practitioner and client, or the relationship between the profession and the general-public, this article wishes to focus on how ethical reflection develops in the workplace on an everyday basis. The reason for this focus is that culture and language of the workplace can have major consequences for how practitioners interpret their roles and how they interpret the official ethical code. Although this article addresses the problem from a Danish context, the author argues that the struggle to develop ethical reflection within the organization is a general concern in most professions in contemporary society. What makes this problem acute within the Danish social pedagogical context is that the profession has a long tradition of working qualitatively with relationship-based-practices. In the neoliberal organization, the mercantile logic undermines the ethical logic of relationship-based-practices. This is due to the first’s emphasis on effectivity and the second’s emphasis on responsibility. This article is a critique of what the author sees as the neoliberal organizations inability to tackle this conflict of values. Furthermore, this article problematizes the “abstract individuality” that neoliberal organizations produce; highlighting the fact, that such individuality is inconsistent with responsibility. Finally, the author argues that by reinterpreting the concept of reflective practice, the organization may develop a more concrete individuality, which is more consistent with responsibility.
Bidragets oversatte titelProfessionsetik i Social Pædagogik i en Neoliberal tidsalder: Skitse til en Gavmildhedensetik
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Social Pedagogy
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2020


  • Socialt arbejde og sociale forhold
  • neo-liberale styringsformer
  • professionsetik


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