Liquid advocacy: Social welfare advocacy in neoliberal times


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This article examines current inconsistent trends in social welfare advocacy literature. Some studies show evidence of widespread engagement in advocacy by nonprofit organisations, while other studies conversely offer evidence of limited advocacy activities. Another controversial aspect stems from the question whether governmental funding undermines the extent to which nonprofits engage in advocacy. We argue that these findings reflect the contradictory impact of neoliberal governance on social welfare advocacy. The article highlights and discusses three interrelated components of neoliberalism and their impact on current social welfare advocacy: marketisation, precariousness and commodification. Neoliberalism has propelled a model of market-driven civil society that has remade the practice of social welfare advocacy in contradictory ways. With its complex rationales, neoliberalism has simultaneously undermined the ability of nonprofits to engage in advocacy but in a paradoxical way has also created conditions that induce these organisations to practice advocacy. Implications for practice and research on social welfare advocacy are discussed.

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