Inequality Talks by Goetz Ottmann: The Challenge of Right-wing Nationalist Populism for Social Work, 7 November 2022

In this keynote Dr Goetz Ottmann (Federation University Australia) will discuss how, in Australia, the rise of right-wing populism has radically changed the basis on which welfare is being provided.

Time: 7 November 2022, at 10:00-11:30 (UTC+2h, Finnish local time)

Place: Online via Zoom


In this presentation Dr Goetz Ottmann would like to give (a) an introduction followed (b) by examples of how the rise of right-wing populism impacts on social-political and cultural formations. In the introduction Ottmann will briefly describe some definitions and features and challenges especially to social work. Following that, he will give an overview of how, in Australia, right-wing nationalist populism radically changed the basis on which welfare is being provided. He will document the shifts from a rights-based welfare to an increasingly punitive behaviour change model bringing to the fore two core policies designed to police compliance, thereby introducing surveillance, compliance focussed social assistance, sanctions and behaviour modification as basis of offering and receiving welfare services. This gradual move to repressive right-wing policies directly challenges social work’s values and claims to be a rights-based profession. Some ideas of counteracting this development are outlined.

Goetz Ottmann holds the position of a senior social work lecturer at Federation University. His research has focused on participatory, community-based social services and public policies in aged and disability care. He has extensive experience in qualitative and action research methodologies and has led several multi-methods program evaluations. His theoretical work revolves around the application of critical social theories to a wide range of social work topics. He has held senior positions in public and private tertiary education.

This talk is based on the current book Noble, C. and Ottmann, G. (eds). (2021). The Challenge of Right-wing Nationalist Populism for Social Work. Oxon: Routledge.

Commentators: Senior Lecturer Anna-Leena Riitaoja (UH), Senior Researcher Emilia Palonen (UH) & Postdoctoral Researcher Tuomo Kokkonen (University of Jyväskylä)

Moderator: INEQ director Meri Kulmala


To participate and receive access to the Zoom meeting, please register via E-form by 6 November.

The talk is part of INEQ's Inequality Talks, an ongoing series of online lectures addressing a wide range of issues related to inequality.