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Publication Details

Reference
Hölscher, Dorothee & Sewpaul, Vishanthie (2006) Ethics as a site of resistance: The tension between social control and critical reflection
Centre for Civil Society Research Report 48: 1-22.

Summary
We are writing this article at a point where the topic has particular local and personal salience. In a previous publication, we had expressed our own difficulties of thinking outside a system of thoughts and practices which has shaped, and continues to shape, us. Yet we had stressed the need for, and possibility of, resistance to the current neoliberal economic disorder and its concomitant value systems (Bauman, 1993; Cox, 2002; Sewpaul & Hölscher, 2004; Sewpaul, 2006 in press).

In spite of this, we continue to be active participants in the very system we have claimed to be willing and potentially able to resist. Our service rendering colleagues in the field battle with diminishing resources in relation to increasing numbers of service users, spreading their professional time and stocks of financial and material aid ever more thinly. In this context, governmental quality assurance procedures, codes of practice/conduct and codes of ethics forced upon nongovernment organisations and welfare practitioners – always in tandem with the threat of funding reductions should quantifiable standards of practice outputs fail to be met - are bound to be perceived as oppressive rather than facilitative (Department of Welfare 1999; Sewpaul & Hölscher, 2004; Hölscher, 2005).

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