Social workers: a new precariat? Precarity conditions of mental health social workers working in the non-profit sector in Greece

Maria Pentaraki, Kostantina Dionisopoulou

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Traditionally, in western countries, the social work profession primarily has come into contact with issues of precarity through the lives of service users. This paper introduces precarity in the social work scholarly literature as a feature of social workers’ professional and personal lives. It draws from the findings of a qualitative small study of mental health social workers working in the non-profit sector in Greece. The findings reflect a picture of social workers experiencing precarious conditions as they have become part of the growing phenomenon of the working poor, surviving by loans, experiencing housing insecurity, reproductive insecurity, fuel poverty and unable to pay for their commuting expenses to and from work. Furthermore, the paper maintains that the expansion of the conditions of precarity to university-educated professionals, such as social workers, needs to be understood within an International Political Economy (IPE) perspective in order neoliberal capitalism which brings rising levels of inequalities to become a focus of intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date13 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • precocity, poverty, social work, neoliberalism

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