International Social Work, Vol.47, 2004, p.533-542
The article describes the shift from welfare statism to consumerism in social care provision internationally. It argues that consumerism has social development potential. Such potential rests on struggles by service users and social workers which exploit the ambiguities of consumerism and open up spaces in which individuals, groups and movements can speak for their own interests in ways which address social divisions and expose oppression. Struggles from previously marginalised groups have focused on campaigns for recognition, inclusion, justice and equal opportunities.