The Citizenship Theory of social justice: exploring the meaning of personalisation for social workers

Simon Duffy
  • Journal of Social Work Practice, September 2010, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2010.500118

Why the point of social work is to enable everyone to enjoy full citizenship

What is it about?

Social work is about social justice. However the systems of social care, which emerged from an era of eugenics, institutionalisation and social control, don't provide the best basis for achieving true social justice. Disabled people, and others, have been demonstrating that social justice is about living a life of full citizenship. Recent social policy reforms, which go under the rather misleading name of 'personalisation' are bets understood as efforts to reform social care systems to achieve citizenship for all.

Why is it important?

This article offers a way of connecting the ambiguous concept of personalisation with the practical efforts to reform social care and the model of citizenship which was developed by Duffy in his Keys to Citizenship.


Dr Simon John Duffy
The Centre for Welfare Reform

My own work is closely associated with the concept of personalisation, after I developed a series of interconnected social innovations to promote social justice in social care (e.g. personal budgets, self-directed support, individual service funds, and the seven steps of self-directed support). Eventually my efforts came into conflict with the perspective of central government and this article was my first effort in an academic journal to offer my own sense of what these ideas were really meant to be about.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Simon John Duffy