A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Citizenship, populism and social work in the Finnish welfare state (2021)

Turtiainen, K., & Kokkonen, T. (2021). Citizenship, populism and social work in the Finnish welfare state. In C. Noble, & G. Ottmann (Eds.), The Challenge of Right-wing Nationalist Populism for Social Work : A Human Rights Approach (pp. 122-134). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429056536-10

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsTurtiainen, Kati; Kokkonen, Tuomo

Parent publicationThe Challenge of Right-wing Nationalist Populism for Social Work : A Human Rights Approach

Parent publication editorsNoble, Carolyn; Ottmann, Goetz



Publication year2021

Pages range122-134

Number of pages in the book250


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77612


This chapter ties together discussions of citizenship and social work practice in the context of growing populist and neoliberal political trends in Finland. These political trends are manifested in populist right-wing nationalist movements on the one hand, and in the neoliberal dismantling of the welfare state on the other. Both political trends – right-wing nationalist populism and neoliberalism – tend to separate people into two groups: those who are ‘deserving’ and those who are ‘undeserving’. Simultaneously, the dynamics of globalisation have radically changed nation states and their traditional concepts of citizenship and related social rights. There is thus a need to redefine the understanding of an emancipatory idea of citizenship as connected to human rights, because nation states are dividing their residents into various groups that are not offered equal social rights; their human rights as determined by international conventions are therefore not protected. Emancipatory citizenship efforts face resistance from contemporary populist political movements. This situation is paradoxical as right-wing nationalist populist political movements also base their political mandate on an underprivileged group of people, namely those living in fragile life situations within the nation state. Social work practice has conventionally been determined by national contexts due to differences in social work traditions, social systems, social problems and cultures. Social work practice must now also be seen in relation to the current political climate, and the authors argue that the social work profession must become a human rights profession and adopt the ethics of social workers.

Keywordscitizenshippopulismsocial workwelfare stateneoliberalismnation-statecivil societysocial rightspolitical movementshuman rightsethics

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:46