In August 2016, academics, professionals and PhD students gathered to join the 14th TiSSA conference that was held at Ghent University in Belgium. This years’ conference theme was ‘Social work as a forum for democracy’ and embraced a wide variety on topics, varying from Child Welfare and Protection, family care, Early Child and Education, migration and social work as a profession.
We were very pleased to welcome over 35 doctoral students during the pre conference from 15 different countries, including some countries who never been to TiSSA before. All participants presented for 20 minutes after which their presentation and their research was extensively discussed with all participants as well as with the members of the international supervisory board. These discussions were not only lively, but also deeply interesting as many of the participants brought in some new perspectives. For the first time, there was also a workshop on the second day of the pre conference. During this workshop, the chair of TiSSA, Prof. dr. Rudi Roose, gave some interesting insights into the world of publishing. This was clearly interesting for all participants as many questioned and concerns were raised during the workshop.
On Monday 22th the plenary sessions were opened in the presence of the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Family and Health, the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Ghent University) and the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Social Work (University College Ghent). After this opening session, Prof. dr. Paul Michael Garret (NUI Galway), Prof. dr. Mel Gray (Newcastle University) and Prof. dr. Anna Meeuwisse (Lund University) gave a lecture in the presence of more than 100 participants. In the afternoon, parallel sessions were organised with a diversity of topics.
The second day of the plenum was traditionally short as there were only three plenary sessions, followed by Field Visits. During this Field Visits, participants were able to visit Villa Voortman, Victoria Deluxe, Public Centre for Social Welfare, and the Municipal Migration Service of the City of Ghent. The third and last day was a day full of exciting presentations, including one workshop. During this workshop, participants were able to flesh out the presentation of the authors and discuss in-depth their topic, research and concerns. It was the first time, the TiSSA organisation, implemented the concept of the workshop. It has to be said, that all participants were excited about this concept. The conference was closed at the City Hall and a nearby restaurant NT Gent where a Farewell Diner was held.
Upcycling projects that focus on the re-use of thrown away material have known a considerable uptake in the last couple of years in the informal learning and leisure circuit. Research projects introducing an upcycling component are relatively scarce to date. Informed by participatory research methodologies we embarked on a co-creation project called ‘Magnificent Rubbish’, in which we partnered up with Arktos vzw (organization working with vulnerable youngsters) and Vizoog vzw (artistically inspired organization specialized in upcycling methodologies). We introduced the project in the context of a study trying to make sense out of place and exploring how people understand and connect to their living environment. We opted for the Vaartkom region, a neighborhood in development close to Leuven to implement the project. The following research procedure was followed: 1. Introduction to goals of study and ethical procedures, 2. Inventarisation, 3. Creation, 4. Interpretation, 5. (re)Presentation and 6. Evaluation. We organized an information session at the start of the research project. The main aim of this session was to familiarize the participants with more detailed information of the project and to address issues of consent and anonymity extensive information related to the ethical issues (1). We then jointly walked through the neighborhood to bring us closer to the visual and tactile sensory dimensions of our participants’ environment. During the walk, materials from the environment (found objects, trash, certain textures) were collected (2). The youngsters created maps from the local environment, situating the collected materials and develop storylines from them (3). These individual storylines were then used as a basis to negotiate meaning in the context of developing collectively shared storylines (4). The collected materials served as a basis for the construction of a piece of art, giving expression to the experiences of the youngsters. Through the use of these methods, we stimulated the imaginary power of youth to create something new with the 'undesirable' traces that people leave behind in their environment (the mess and the street litter) (5). In this paper, we report on the outcomes of the sixth step in our process; the evaluation phase. We discuss the multiple benefits related to the use of a multi-sensory arts-based research method with vulnerable populations as well as the challenges and limitations we faced in the implementation phase. We also include suggestions on how these challenges can potentially be bridged to increase the level of cooperation and collaboration between different stakeholders involved in the project. Reference to the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF9yCUYAhoQ
Spivak (2013) suggests that globalisation exists only for capital and data, with everything else being damage control. That these central tenets of neoliberal privilege experience national borders as a fluid concept whose boundaries are passed without notice is in stark contrast to the barbed wires, tear gas and rage of domestic populism that greets children and families displaced by conflict. Social work without borders (SWB) is an international organization of social workers committed to the principles of practice across borders and across populations. The current global refugee crisis has presented a particular challenge for humanitarian social work but also a significant opportunity (Hölscher & Bozalek, 2012). The desire within social care to react to the humanitarian emergency witnessed daily across mainstream and social media provides a rallying cry and a platform for international social work to resist the dehumanizing of the planet’s most vulnerable citizens. Qualitative research can reveal the life world of the diaspora and bear witness to their physical and emotional flight from conflict and hostile reception (Poyntz & Kennelly, 2015). The demand for holistic interventions can also challenge the contemporary fragmenting of our professional knowledge (Turbett, 2014) as refugee camps across Europe require a structured generic social care response, involving child and family assessments, mental health assessments and safeguarding analysis. Evidence collated from such interventions can identify the shifting dynamic of need within the camps and provide an evidence based foundation to our lobbying of those in a position to effect change. SWB is also committed to foster alliances across social workers, psychologists, health professionals and legal experts to form a coordinated holistic response to the refugee crisis and transcend the territorial positioning that has manifested within certain refugee camps amongst some voluntary organisations. Social Work Without Borders are currently in the process of setting up a branch in the UK, with offices already established in Sweden and Norway. A key strategy is to facilitate practitioners and students to practice and think internationally and foster a network of enduring global social work friendships. Providing social work students with an international placement as an official posting from their university will both inspire and promote collectivism amongst the next generation of social workers when the neoliberal agenda has cultivated a practice landscape for them of isolation and individualism (Stark, 2010). SWB is, therefore, committed to the historical principles of cross-country professional relationships that began in Paris in 1928 with the formation of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and International Council for Social Welfare (ICSW).
Although community empowering projects are increasing in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), most LDCs are characterized by the large number of poor people, identified as those living on less than US$ 2 a day. This study is entitled the role of youth community empowerment projects on poverty alleviation in Rwanda. The general objective of the study was to analyze the effect of youth community empowerment projects on poverty alleviation in Rwanda. Specific Objectives were to analyze the barriers related to youth community empowerment projects in Gicumbi; to assess the mechanisms used by project managers to increase community capacity building in Gicumbi; to find out the benefits brought by youth community empowerment projects in Gicumbi and to establish relationship between community empowerment projects and poverty alleviation in Gcumbi district. This study adopted descriptive design to get results expected from this study. The researcher targeted a population of 200 people, the 67 respondents (beneficiaries) were selected from 200 beneficiaries of the project using systematic random sampling method. Questionnaires and interview were used to collect primary data in this study. The frequency and percentage were used for respondent’s general information. The data analysis was done using SPSS. In relation to the benefits brought by youth community empowerment projects in Rwanda. This study revealed that out of 67 respondents 40 strongly agreed while 27 agreed that creating employment and economic opportunities were among the benefits. In relation to community’s control and ownership, out of 67 respondents 40 respondents agreed. The study confirmed accessibility of clean water. In relation to the second research objectives, the strategies used by project managers to increase community capacity building in Rwanda. This study found that community participation is among of the strategies whereby, out of 67 respondents 31 respondents strongly agreed and 36 respondents agreed. Out of 67 respondents 62 respondents agreed that team work is among of the strategies used. In relation to the third research objective, the barriers related to youth community empowerment projects in Rwanda. The study showed lack of financial resources as among the barriers related to community empowerment projects, whereby out of 67 respondents 36 respondents strongly agreed and 31 respondents agreed. The study also found poor management of available resources, out of 67 respondents 36 respondents strongly agreed while 31 respondents agreed. The study recommended that youth community empowerment projects should be strengthened and should expand their support to resource poor rural areas; strategies to combat the lack of empowerment must be addressed not only the immediate need of poor rural areas but must also focus on the root cause of rural area’s powerlessness.
Public sector organizations are established in order to promote the quality of citizen’s lives through the provision of public services. However, the demands for public services often outstrip the limited resources at the disposal of the public sector for the delivery of such services. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are emerging as an important tool of public policy to deliver public infrastructures and the attendant services. This study intended to analyse the role that PPP plays in the development of education infrastructure in Huye District; to assess the effectiveness of Public-Private Partnership in the development of education infrastructure in Huye District and to assess the challenges faced by Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the development of education for all in Huye District. The study allows analyzing and understanding the current state of PPP and its performance in the development of education infrastructure in Rwanda. Additionally the research findings should be benefited by policy makers in general to set up adequate and informed strategies for the development of education infrastructure in Rwanda. This study is also important for private investors and the private sector in general. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected by the use of the questionnaire and focus group discussions to analyze and understand the relationships between variables. The target population was 342 from Huye District staff, Heads or Managers of schools and District partners. The sample size was 77 people that are selected using stratified random sampling method. Data analysis was processed by the use of SPSS software version 16 for quantitative data and content analysis for qualitative data to analyze opinions, perceptions and views. Findings from respondents stated 62.5% of respondents confirmed that PPP plays a key role in Building / Rehabilitation of schools. The importance of PPP is also characterized by the distribution of rain water reticulation tanks as showed by 68.8% of respondents while 50.0% indicated that partners provided solar power and distributed power generators (31.2%). Regarding the second research objective being investigating if PPP is effective or not; 58.90% of respondents are convinced of its effectiveness. However, 93.2% deplored a lack of signed or outdated contract for projects undertaken under PPP. From the results, a great majority of respondent i.e 68.5% believe factors such as rules, regulations and contracting procedures, types of PPP applied, public leverage and structure and content of PPP arrangement are likely to be determinants if PPPs have to be effective. The study revealed that PPP faces various challenges, i.e regulatory environment related challenges, lack of information, unclear process of PPPs project development, lack of institutional capacity for PPP projects stakeholders and lack of financial availability. The study recommended that Rwandan Parliament should establish a PPP legal framework including fair rules and regulations. It should be also established an autonomous PPP regulatory Agency to safeguard both side interests and guarantee a mutual trust and sound cooperation between public and private partners.
The research idea stems from social work’s emerging curiosity and interest in the wider environmental debate. The inclusion of the physical environment on to the social work agenda is gaining ground, particularly on a global platform. For example the 2010 joint world conference of social work and social development focused on sustainability in relation to justice and equity (Kemp 2011:1201). Social work by its very definition is intrinsically linked to human rights and social justice, therefore it is essential that issues relating to ecological justice are given full consideration given the global situation relating to the climate, resources and population growth. There is a widening call within the international social work arena for the profession to incorporate such issues into practice, policy, values and research. McKinnon (2008) calls for the need for the profession to maintain its on-going relevance by considering aspects such as social sustainability within social work education. The research aims to produce knowledge about social workers who hold pro-environmental attitudes in Wales. By way of in-depth interviews the social workers narrative will be elicited in relation to the natural environment. In addition, the researcher will explore how social worker’s connect the environment and social work, if at all, and how integration into practice may have occurred. This will offer insight into the level of practice engagement in Wales as well as the perceived barriers to this. These considerations will support the development of green social work in the Wales by identifying how it is constructed, what it looks like in practice and what is preventing the establishment of a visible green social work movement. The research will adopt the method of an in depth semi structured interview subjected to thematic analysis and will critique contemporary social work practice. Critical theory is contained within the methodology and the researcher has included a component of action research which involves giving lectures on the topic to social work students. This has been deemed an essential part of the research process as it allowed the aims of the critical theorist approach relating to progressing social justice matters being incorporated. At present I am in year 4 year of a part time professional doctorate in social work with Keele University. At the time of the conference I will have a complete data set and will present my findings of both stages of research. Kemp, SP 2011: Recentring Environment in Social Work. Practice: Necessity, Opportunity, Challenge. British Journal of Social Work. Vol 41, pp1198–1210. Oxford University Press: Oxford. McKinnon, J 2008: Exploring the Nexus between Social Work and the Environment. Australian Social Work, Vol 61, 13 pp256-268. Routledge
This paper considers the growth of socially engaged art practice over the last decade in light of the relationship between social work, art, and social change. The question posed is ‘has social work – caught as it is in neoliberal paternalism – given way to socially engaged art as a medium of social change?’ The paper argues that, as social workers have vacated public spaces of activism and emancipatory change, so artists have moved in to fill the void. It suggests there has never been a better time to reinvigorate critical social work and its democratic potential.
Due to a switch from highly professional to society based care, home-visits in social work begin to gain importance. Home-visits meet some of the people’s needs for help and are probably an asset to satisfy their basic right for expansion. Home-visits succeed in overcoming barriers that institutions created. Just because nowadays institutional care declined, new challenges and boundaries are coming up. These changes in social work organizations open a whole new field to discover and investigate. Different social services suggest the need for an ethical and methodological framework regarding their home-visits. In order to being able to deliver adequate help they have questions about how, where and when to contact people and how to effectuate a visit the most appropriate way. How can we shape home-visits and give social workers handles to reach the needs of their clients? If the home-environment is becoming more and more important to care and cure, we should know how to handle a home-visit to the satisfaction of everyone concerned. Therefore in this research clients were given a voice too. The questions, conclusions and outcomes we want to present are based on a study spread out over two years and features different levels. The research is practice based. An interview with thirty social workers is mapped to see how they’re performing their home-visits and what kind of problems they’re meeting while conducting this visits. Secondly 27 clients were interviewed to find out more about how they personally experienced home visits. The participants were recruited in three different worksettings, namely a community development project, a health security organization and an outreach psychiatric service organization. In order to map their vision, ethical issues, experiences and targets we interviewed social workers and their clients with a semi-structured interview guide. Questions include facts about used methods: how do you introduce yourself to a client? What kind of information do you give before the visit? But also ethical issues: what to do if a client invites you for dinner?; To which extent do you take control and for what in the context of a home? All information will be processed by the program Nvivo. In order to deepen the gathered information we conducted focus-group interviews with social workers and clients. We presented tensions on continuums in order to let them take position and encourage them to tell how they think about these tensions and how to deal with. The presentation will give an insight in experiences, difficulties and ethical issues the participants of this study faced. Thus offering possibilities for reflection and improvement of different home-visit practices and reflection on the democratic values of home-visits in the context of society based care. The results show how and where social workers might need support and improved frameworks. The currently used methods and experienced ethical considerations will be confronted by the experience of their clients.
This presentation focuses on pivotal theoretical and empirical findings from a research project that focuses on young men affiliated with different street gangs and the social pedagogical interventions that have been provided through childhood and adolescence. In the research project ten young men have been involved who have in common that they all in different ways and to a different extent are affiliated with street gangs in different places in Denmark. Based on their individual perspective and position in life (Holzkamp, 1998; Ernst & Schraube, 2013; Petersen, 2015, 2016) the ten young men tell about the (social) pedagogical interventions they have met through their childhood and adolescence – and how they would like these interventions to be developed for the purpose of helping other socially vulnerable children and adolescents in the long term. Research in a Danish context has not previously involved young people who live in street gangs – that is, while they are still affiliated with the gangs and not while leaving – and with involvement of the young men as co-researchers (Holzkamp, 1998; Dreier, 1997; Højholt, 2002). Nor has research in a Danish context previously brought social and social pedagogical interventions into focus related to young gang members, and ways in which social pedagogy may help to prevent the processes of marginalization and exclusion related to the young people’s opportunities for participation in the Danish society. It is cause for wonder that the area related to gang membership actually lack knowledge and research initiatives, particularly in relation to the numerous economic, police and general social costs that are employed in relation to young gang membership in a Danish context. Apparently, we have very little knowledge about the effect and how to prevent young men from joining gangs, and all the implications involved such as socially vulnerability, exclusion, crime, violence and conflicts, in a Danish context, despite the (financial) resources spent over the last 10-15 years in this area. The findings of the research project seems to suggest that the young people’s experiences in school are in particular very important when it comes to the young people’s options in their early youth, and the harder they have experienced schooling, the more the young men’s actions are unfolded in relation to movements outside the school; truancy, act of crime, smoking marijuana, and hanging out on the streets. A key factor is also the experiences of the young men related to social and social pedagogical activities provided throughout their youth for the purpose of preventing crime and gang affiliation, which identifies to their experiences that these interventions do not help the young men when it comes to living conditions and their request to be able to participate in society.
The majority of adoptions in England involve children who are removed from their birth parents by the state. Adoption severs the ties between child and birth parent, transferring parental responsibility to adopters. It is life-changing for all involved. Government policy in England promotes adoption as a form of permanency, and continued adoption reforms could be viewed as a neoliberal privatised solution to social problems (Kirton 2013). This creates tension within practice, as recent court judgements emphasise the ‘draconian’ nature of adoption (In the matter of B (A Child)  UKSC 33: 197). Government policy therefore promotes the voices of adoptive parents. However, the voices of birth parents are often dismissed within adoption discourse (Garrett 2002). This PhD research provides a view of birth parent’s experiences of adoption under current legislation. It also explores the discrepancy between the legal terminology of ‘consent’, and parents’ lived experiences of this process. Finally, birth parent’s experiences of contact are explored. The research uses a narrative approach to construct collaborative life histories allowing for an exploration of the links between structure and agency. A range of methods have been used to construct the life histories, including in-depth narrative discussions, timelines, and the use of photographs for elicitation. It is important that birth parents are heard within adoption discourse for a number of reasons. Parents who are able to come to terms with the loss of adoption are more likely to contribute positively to the child’s adoptive family (Neil 2006). Recent research also suggests that up to 24% of birth parents who enter the care system are subject to multiple proceedings and a sizeable proportion of children involved are babies at risk of adoption (Broadhurst, Alrough, Yeend, Harwin, Shaw, Pilling, Mason and Kershaw 2015). However, once the court process is finished there is little rehabilitation offered to parents. Pullen-SansfaÇon and Cowden (2012) suggest that the voices of less powerful groups in society are rarely heard. Hearing the voices of birth parents may start to address the needs of birth families and explore ways of allowing them to remain together. This presentation provides an overview of preliminary research findings, highlighting the challenges encountered whilst undertaking research with marginalised groups. A pilot study has been completed, with further fieldwork currently in progress. References Broadhurst, K., Alrouh, B., Yeend, E., Harwin, J., Shaw, M., Pilling, M., Mason, C., and Kershaw, S. (2015) ‘Connecting Events in Time to Identify a Hidden Population: Birth Mothers and Their Children in Recurrent Care Proceedings in England.’ British Journal of Social Work British Journal of Social Work Advance Access published [online] (November), 1–20 Garrett, P.M. (2002) ‘Getting “a Grip”: New Labour and the Reform of the Law on Child Adoption’. Critical Social Policy 22 (2), 174–202 In the matter of B (A Child)  UKSC 33 Kirton, D. (2013) ‘“Kinship by Design” in England: Reconfiguring Adoption from Blair to the Coalition’. Child and Family Social Work 18: 97-106 Pullen-Sansfacon, A. and Cowden, S. (2012) The Ethical Foundations of Social Work. Harlow: Pearson
Background and purpose: In the context of an increasingly neo-liberal, market led social care system facing an on-going merge with health care, social work is undergoing significant change to how it is perceived. This coupled with the depiction of social work clientele being depicted on screen in a media phenomenon often described as ‘poverty porn’ or ‘the war on welfare’, social work faces an uphill struggle to redeem its public image. The aim of this research is to address an issue previously identified: the frequently negative and often inaccurate portrayal of social work in the UK media. The focus will be visual media, specifically fictional and non-fictional television and film depictions of social work. The poster proposed will present ongoing doctoral research. Main points: • Literature – to date this has focused on the representations of social work in either fictional or non-fictional genres separately. One example of a synthesis exists-Zugazaga et al., (2006) US based study. • Media examples - Fictional examples of social worker often show social work to be cold, bureaucratic and unsympathetic, whilst non-fictional examples tend to highlight time where social work has failed. • Aims - 1) Explore the way that social work is portrayed in fictional and non-fictional television and film. 2) Develop an understanding of how both media genres form a single understanding of social work. 3) Develop an understanding of the role that social work plays in media ‘stories’. • Research Design- in 3 stages- Stage 1- Semi-Structured Interviews Aim of these are to draw on the experiences of media professionals or those with experience of social work media engagement to contextualise further analysis. Stage 2- Media content analysis Making use of semiotic and discourse analysis methods, a coding manual will be produced to assist qualitative and quantitative analysis of media portrayals of social work. Findings will be presented in the form of case studies. • Stage 3- Focus groups Social workers will be invited to discuss a stimulus and consider how they may contribute to media representations. This will help to guide any recommendations made or conclusions drawn. Application and Impact: I foresee there to be similarities in fictional and non-fictional portrayal of social work, whereby it is used as either a plot device or public interest piece to sell advertising slots and full fill. I would assert that all media (soap dramas, news shows, comedies, and documentaries alike) is created for entertainment purposes and is not held responsible for accurate or fair portrayal. With the closure of The College of Social Work (TCSW- a professional body tasked in 2010 with raising the profile of social work), social workers are now, more than ever, required to take their professional standing and media portrayal into their own hands. It is therefore paramount that social workers are aware how they are understood by the public, as well as how the public has come to this understanding.
The presentation I have center around an important issue related to social work research. Such is how political the research of social work could be or ought to be. My research focus has been on moral language in child protection research. Many philosophical and epistemological questions adhere to these themes. Research is always value-committed practice. On the other hand it can be noticed that moral judgments have become rarer (Stevenson, 1967). Neutrality in research reports may be characteristic for research language in 21th century, because epistemology in academic research based on distinguishing the “is” and “ought to” -sentences. The ideal of neutrality is less praised in social scientific research in 2000th century, as positivist idea of science and scientific language has roused critic since 1900th century. But linguistic turns and the growth of for example relativistic stances and social constructivism have had their marks on language use and epistemology. The need of expressing moral aims or standards needs attention in name of social work values, and the principles about promoting moral aims. I´ve researched of moral language of academic research concerning child protection and child death cases. I have analyzed the moral language of academic journal articles that concern child death cases in the UK in the 21th century. Academic research concerning child protection has both cultures of moral committed and value neutrality. In research, constant efforts are made to give more voice to clients and children themselves, and this is very valuable. The moral opinions researchers express is more tensioned topic. Social work research cannot possibly be “political” in all cases. But it would be a mistake to use normative and political as synonyms. There is no need to understand moral language as political or purely opinionated (Baubök, 2009). Moral language is partly opinionated but besides, it can be fact-based (Hare, 1961). Sometimes moral language is highly needful too. There is no necessity of use of moral judgments or moral language in academic research, but at least when writing of extreme cases, it can be ethically best choice to write of ethical aspects of study. It can also be epistemologically important or necessary, because neutral expressions may leave much important unexpressed. “Moral” has become rare and difficult concept. It is less often a concept with positive meanings, instead seen as agent-relative, basing on persuasion and naming enemies (Lee & Ungar, 1989). The concepts of moralizing or moral panics link negative images for what is moral language; it is irrational, non-democratic and emotional discussion. But moral discourse can as well be democratic and scientific (Harris, 2005 & Habermas, 1999). Moral language can for example have vocabulary which is expressing caring relations (Van Manen, 2000). Such may make it an empowering method. I also want to see moral as positive concept in my study, and applying moral cognitivism can provide a step towards this. Moral cognitivism highlights moral language can concern facts. (van Roojen, 2015.)
Background & Purpose: Social practitioners, who work in superdiverse contexts with people in conditions of social vulnerability, face many challenges and complexities: the vulnerability of clients is not an issue that can be easily solved. Van Ewijk argues that in the context of continuing transformation of societies and communities, social work should redirect towards ‘contextual-transformational social work’. It should focus on ‘changing situations, improving contexts, strengthening relationships’ (van Ewijk, 2010a: 70). An important question is how contextual-transformational social work with vulnerable people in superdiverse contexts is perceived by social workers and clients. In this article we explore the value of such an approach in superdiverse contexts from the perspective of clients and social workers in a small generalist service organization, ‘De Sloep’, situated in a deprived neighbourhood in Ghent, Belgium, and providing services to clients with a migratory background confronted with ‘wicked problems’ on different life domains (O’Toole, 1997). Methods: Our research approach combined ethnographic fieldwork with a practice-oriented approach to evaluation (Schwandt, 2005). It is responsive (Stake, 1991), as it takes the concerns and issues of stakeholding audiences of the organization (social workers and clients) into account (Schwandt, 2001: 73). Results: The practice we investigate, demonstrates how the main tasks of social workers in a contextual-transformational vision on social work, namely improving the self-reliance of people and the conditions for societal participation and social cohesion, can be combined. Interviews with clients and social workers showed that transformational practice results in: a sense of belonging, increased practical wisdom and feelings of confidence and empowerment. In order to achieve these outcomes, the social workers combine four practice principles. The first important principle is the investment in affective relationship-building with clients. The second practice-principle is the use of a strength-based perspective. The third practice principle valued by social workers and clients is the divers-sensitivity of the organization and the social workers. The last working-principle emphasizes that informational and practical support is essential for helping clients to acquire their (social) rights. Conclusion & Implications: Our results show the value of generalist professionals capable of working on different levels of the client system in superdiverse and complex contexts. Further empirical research on contextual-transformational social work needs to explore in greater depth how these different practice principles result in a generalist social work approach in superdiverse contexts.
The main question in my PhD is how migrants, their children and grandchildren find a place or fight for a place in the society of arrival. My theoretical framework is at this point mainly informed by the ‘new assimilation’ literature (Alba and Nee, 1997; Brubaker, 2001). Assimilation in this renewed form is used as an analytical concept, rather than as a normative imperative, applied to analyse emerging similarities and potential lasting differences between inhabitants of a given receiving country and migrants and their descendants (Brubaker, 2001). It is seen as construct with several dimensions: structural (education, employment, citizenship), identificational (self-identification, identities), social (social networks, marriages, membership of organizations) and cultural (cultural practices, language, norms, religion) (Esser, 1990). Lastly, but central in the following, is that assimilation is rather seen as a process happening over generations instead of an individual one. Quantitative data collection on the basis of a survey with young first, second and third generation migrants is finished. The data on structural assimilation (school trajectories, expectations about the labour market) show huge differences between youngsters with a background in one of the oldest fifteen member states of the European Union and those with a background outside of the EU15 and leads to the hypothesis that discrimination plays an important role in these differences. When it comes to identifications, most of the youngster identify with several levels (nation, ethnic and city), but still all youngsters with a migrant background identify significantly less as Belgians than non-migrants. On the social dimension, we expect that the networks of migrant descendants will be much more diverse in terms of ethnic background than the ones of non-migrants. In the qualitative part, we would like to conduct individual and family interviews with a small number of families of which the grandparent(s) migrated to Belgium and who got (grand)children Belgium. We want to get insight in what happens within these families over generations and how they construct their own (post-)migration stories and perceive their own assimilation processes. What I want to discuss in TiSSA is the theoretical and methodological framework of this study, as well as the practicalities and ethics of conducting group interviews. The current idea is to involve families with a non-EU15 background (given their more vulnerable position, see above), but from different countries (given that we think that a lot of the processes going on are not related to originating from a certain country, but rather to being from a region far enough from Belgium to be construed as ‘the other’). We would work with very open and broad questions (such as: how was it for you to come to Belgium, how is it for your children and grandchildren to live in Belgium while having roots in another country, what was easy or rather difficult, who or what has supported you, etc.) and talk about the themes of schooling trajectories, entrance into and trajectories on the labour market, discrimination and othering practices, identification processes and identities and formal and informal social networks.
Assimilation is used in its renewed form in the social sciences as an analytical concept, rather than as a normative imperative, applied to analyze similarities and differences between inhabitants of a receiving country and migrants and their descendants (Brubaker 2001). Assimilation is considered as a multidimensional concept, including a structural, social and cultural and an identificational dimension (ibid.) The latter encompasses migrants’ ‘identification with the mainstream’ and their ‘ethnic identity’. Identificational assimilation has classically often been described as strengthening the identification with the majority group, going hand in hand with leaving behind the identity referring to the countries of origin (ibid.). Later on, several researchers argued for a two-dimensional model of identification, in which there was space for multiple identifications (ibid.). Also the importance of the local level for the identification of young people has empirically been backed up (Crul and Schneider, 2010). In this paper, we will discuss self-identification, defined by Phinney (1990) as the way in which people define or label themselves. She argues that self-identification is one of the components of ethnic identity and that it is an essential starting point in researching ethnic identity. Given that assimilation is no longer seen as (solely) taking place at the individual level, but (possibly) rather happening over generations (Brubaker 2001), we want to explore in this paper how different migrant generations identify themselves (national, ethnic, city). We will report on a survey study with young first, second and third generation migrants in secondary schools in Flanders. We thereby hypothesize that there will be a difference between migrants with a background in one of the oldest fifteen countries of the European Union (EU15) and those with a background outside of the EU15, because the latter are more often ‘visibly different’ and thus more often perceived and treated as ‘others’. Results show that most of the youngsters identify simultaneously with all three levels (national, ethnic, city). Those who do not, mostly choose for a combination of ethnic and city level identification. This might indicate that identification at the city level can be an alternative for identification at the national level, given that discourses that stress the non-belonging of people with a migrant background often relate to the national level and that some cities in particular promote themselves as diverse cities (Crul and Schneider, 2010). When it comes to the strength of the identifications, we see that non-EU15 second generation migrants identify most strongly with all of the levels than first and third generations, probably because for them questions of identification are more prominent. All migrant youngsters identify significantly less with the national level than non-migrants, which might indicate that youngsters with a migrant background do not feel as if they have the option to self-identify as a Belgian. Second generations identify more strongly with the ethnic level than third generations and for non-EU15 migrants also more strongly than first generations. First generation migrants identify significantly less strongly with the city than non-migrants, non-EU15 third generation youngsters do so as well.
Policymakers, practitioners and researchers from different policy areas, especially within the youth and welfare sector, agree on the ‘social potential’ of community sport practices. Starting from the main rationales ‘sport for all’ and ‘sport as a social tool’, these community sport practices and the social benefits that are believed to emanate from them are considered particularly crucial in the development of socially deprived youth, as they are less likely to participate in regular, structured leisure time activities. Despite this consensus on the ‘social potential’ of community sport practices, we argue that research on this, seemingly, homogenous concept has manifested itself on two axes. First, sport is perceived as an attractive tool that (might) contribute to the social development of the individual (learning communication skills, learning to cope with competition). Second, community sports (can) enhance the social development of communities. In relation to the latter, social cohesion is operationalized as a key indicator of community development. My research project is initiated from the observation that in both axes, research is dominantly focused on indicators and outcomes of community sport practices on an individual level, even when researching the meaning of social cohesion. As a consequence, little is yet known about the relationship between community sports and social cohesion on the community level. Although we believe that conceptualizations on the relationship between community sport practices and social cohesion on an individual level as well as on the community level are intertwined, we wish to criticize the dominant discourses wherein research is conducted dominantly from an individual perspective. More specific, we argue that these research approaches contain risks of stigmatization, labeling socially vulnerable youngsters as ‘the anti-social other’. Furthermore, we believe that these approaches (could) lead to the culpabilization of these youngsters, blaming them as outcasts and demanding them to adjust to the dominant social order while failing to raise questions on structural causes of inequality that are imbedded in educational, social and political systems. Current research has, in our opinion, not yet been able to grasp the meaning of community sport on a community level. The aim of this research thus, is to get a clear notion of the existing conceptualizations on the relationship(s) between community sport and social cohesion (and the meaning of these relationships) in literature, community sport practices and the perspectives of participants. In particular, we aspire to develop a more contextualized understanding of sport-based interventions, through the use of theoretical frameworks of social work and social pedagogy, as we believe they will enable us to go beyond these ‘individualized’ conceptualizations and to provide a more context-based understanding of these community sport practices.
Theoretical framework The fragmentation and categorical organisation of welfare services is currently perceived as problematic, since these services are not responsive to the wicked issue of (child) poverty. Families in poverty face multi-faceted problems and a main strategy in order to meet their needs and concerns is the integration of social services (Anthony, King & Austin, 2011; Hood, 2014; Kodner, 2009). My doctoral research reveals that the discourse that integrated social services are inherently evaluated as more effective services, is currently very dominant (Allen, 2003; OECD, 2001; DfE, 2013). In my research, however, the question is raised whether families with young children experience the integration of services as supportive. The research focus lies, more specifically, on the trend towards integration that comes along with the growing need to exchange personal information of clients (Bellamy, 2005, 2008; White & Featherstone, 2005; Richardson & Asthana, 2006). A fluent exchange of personal information is seen as an indicator of integration and is therefore seen as a positive thing to do. Nevertheless, this raises fundamental questions about the privacy of clients and on the ethics in (integrated) social work practices. Aim of the research This study aims to get a better insight into the dynamics, rationales and interventions of local networks that are recently constructed to combat child poverty in Belgium. In order to broaden the discussion about what is effective and qualitative support, we aim to gain an in-depth understanding of how personal information is dealt with in such networks of social services, and relate this to what parents in poverty experience as supportive and responsive in the quality of social services. Methodology Our study is embedded in a larger multi-disciplinary research project that combines quantitative sociological and qualitative social work perspectives. My own study consists of a multiple case study of three local realities. Each case includes a multi-layered perspective by reviewing local policy papers, and by conducting qualitative in-depth interviews with local policy makers, social workers and families in poverty, as well as participant observation in the network. Yet this presentation is limited to insights about the dynamics at stake in one local network of social provision engaged in combating (child) poverty. Main findings and discussion The results indicate that social workers are caught in a tension between sharing and protecting private information. On the one hand, sharing information may have a supportive effect, as it can be a way of realizing social rights of families in poverty. On the other hand, sharing information may also create a disciplining effect. The theoretical concept of the panopticon (Foucault, 1997) is used as an analytical framework. Keywords Networks, integration, (child) poverty, information
In social work literature some papers matter more than others. We assume this might be the case with ‘Notes on the form of knowledge in Social Work’, written by Mark Philp. Even though it was written in 1979, this paper recurrently keeps appearing on and off through writings and footnotes of many scholars in social work and beyond. Just as it did through ours, since we knew it. In brief, Philp might have been pioneering discours analysis on social work literature and practices and suggests there is an underlying constitution of everything that is said and done in social work. This constitution he argues, creates knowledge in social work but also limits social worker to this very knowledge. His analysis draws on Marxist, Foucauldian and psychoanalytic theories and is utterly ‘historical’ as social work knowledge “is created by historically located shifts in discursive relations“ (Philp, 1979: 103). However, there might be more continuity, as he positions social work historically as mediator between objectified individuals and subjectivity. A stance, which we assume, might still be acknowledged in social work today. In this respect we wondered how scholars in social work today would read and comprehend this seminal paper. What aspects of Philps’ hypothesis, analysis and arguments would they find relevant for social work analysis today and why? In what way might his ‘notes’ enable us to challenge social works knowledge base and positioning? Our analysis is based on two distinct research methods. Firstly, we read through some of his references in order to get more familiar with his thoughts, sources and time. Secondly, we held two discussion panels: one in Antwerp (B) and one held in Ghent (B). Participants, 16 in sum, were selected based on their contribution for social work practice, social work education or research. They have scholarly backgrounds in social work, philosophy, criminology, history, pedagogy and psychology. In our presentation and drawing on Philps' analysis, we will focus on the question if social work should preferably be seen as a mediator. Or is this positioning no longer relevant or tenable in social work today. References Philp, M. (1979). Notes on the Form of Knowledge in Social Work. Sociological Review, 1, 83-111.
Exploration of children’s participation in Flemish youth care: Focus on six to twelve years old children. Research aims The right of every child to participate in decisions about their own life has become widely accepted. In this project, we investigate the perspective of six to twelve years old children in Flemisch youth care. We focus on participation in the process of the care they get: what is important to children themselves? What are necessary conditions for children to participate and how can professionals facilitate their participation? Relationship to previous research works The need for this project emerged from an earlier research project on the experiences of twelve tot eighteen years old children, their parents and professionals in their own youth care. Theoretical and conceptual framework Children’s Rights and the Flemish policy on youth care participation serve as the conceptual framework for this research. Paradigm, methodology and methods From an interpretative paradigm, we have performed about twenty in-depth interviews with children, using a creative and interactive approach, tailored to the child’s abilities and preferences. The data are qualitatively analyzed (pheonomenological approach). Also the research itself as well as the attitude of the researchers were consequent to its paradigm, a participative approach of the children. The research has been approved by the Ethical Committee of University of Ghent. Above that, all participating children and their parents/educational responsibles have given their written informed consent. Children interested in participation were additionally informed about the research project through an interactive, narrative approach (screencast). Main finding or discussion The data collection is ongoing. Preliminary results suggest that meaningful participation of young children requires careful consideration of methods and attitude. Participation shows to be a learning process for both professionals and children. The process of the researchers in enquiring the children seems to be a reflection of the process of caregivers. Arising questions What is meant by the concept of participation? How can the children be our guide in the definition of participation? What is remarkable in comparing the results of the six to twelve years old children to the results of the twelve to eighteen years old youngsters? How can the process of the researchers be part of the analysis? Implications, practice or policy There is growing attention to participation of young children in youth care. This research provides professionals with tools and guidelines to support children’s participation. The results of this study will also be informative for policy makers within the domain of child and youth care.
The phenomenon of volunteering among adolescents is drawing a great deal of attention on the part of scholars and practitioners in the community and in other organizations, from a variety of disciplines. In general, volunteering is defined as service and\or assistance enacted by a certain individual to the benefit of another individual or a greater public, while it stems out of free will and without an expectation for any material return. Among adolescents in particular, the volunteering casts an additional purpose, which lays in its contribution to their personal and social development. The proposed study will focus on the young volunteers at a unique therapeutic riding center which is located in Tel-Mond. The theoretical model, which lays in the essence of the proposed study, is the Conservation of Resources Theory. According to this theory, individuals act in certain way\s, in order to preserve, uphold and protect their personal resources. In the context of this study, we assume that the adolescents chose to volunteer in the community, in accordance to their personal values and attitudes, and in order to gain resources for their adult lives in the future. In the current study, we suggest that there will be positive correlations between socio-economic background, motives for volunteering and attitudes towards animals on the one hand, and leadership ability and organizational commitment on the other. In addition, we hypothesize that personal resources and environmental resources will also be positively correlated to both dependent variables in our study. The proposed study has begun on 2015, and will proceed until the fall of 2016. During that period, we will administer questionnaires to 150 adolescents (Ages 15-18), whom currently volunteering in the Therapeutic Riding Center of Israel. The center offers therapeutic sessions with horses and dogs, and also arranges theoretical and practical courses for therapeutic riding instructors and therapeutic dog handler. More specifically, the participants will be asked to answer: (a) Socio-Demographic Questionnaire, that includes questions in areas such as gender, education level, level of religiosity, place of residence, and SES (Socio-Economic Status) of family of origin; (b) Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (Rosenberg, 1965); (c) Sense of Mastery Questionnaire (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978); (d) Leadership Ability Questionnaire (Zimmerman & Zahniser, 1991); (e) Social Support Questionnaire (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988); (f) Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (Meyer & Allen, 1984); (g) Motives for Volunteering Questionnaire (Shen, 1999 - in Hebrew); (h) Attitudes towards Animals (Templer, Salter, Dickey, Baldwin, & Velenber, 1981). The main theoretical objective of our study is to enlist the factors that contribute the most to the emergence of leadership ability and organizational commitment among adolescents. In addition, the practical objective is to promote a volunteering that is based on connectedness to the organization and on accepting greater responsibility in it. We believe that in that case, it can be beneficial to at least three actors: The volunteers themselves, the place of volunteering, and above all – the costumers or clients of the service.
Social work, as instrument and agent of social policy, forms part of a complex and ambivalent process of the government of the social (Olk 2008; Kessl 2006; Lessenich 2003) which includes markets, states and civil society and is influenced by the increasing role of europeanization and transnationalization (Hammerschmidt 2016; Csoba 2014; Friesenhahn/Kniephoff-Knebel 2011). While all European countries already before 2008 shifted to so-called activation policies, different contexts and concepts display a scope of variations and contradictions within the same terminology (Chevalier 2016; Walther 2014; Bartelheimer/Verd 2012; Serrano Pascual 2007). With the beginning of the multiple crisis, the question becomes more urgent how these approaches do effect the lives of young unemployed. As part of the doctoral research group „living in the transformed welfare state“, the PhD project compares welfare capitalistic regimes for young unemployed in Germany and Spain by looking at the welfare „from below“ (Pilgram/Steinert 2001). 57 narrative interviews with young adults between 18 and 26 years, both within and without programs of active labour market policy, form the baseline of the investigation. Departing from a relational understanding of the structure/agency topic (Raitelhuber 2013; Scherr 2013) and based on Böhnisch´s theory of coping in the life course (Böhnisch/Schröer 2001; Böhnisch e.a. 2009), the investigation is sizing the enabling and constraining qualities of the regimes and is asking which agency is possible in which context. Walther's (2011) multidimensional model of life course regimes serves as heuristic approach, analysis follows the principles of grounded theory (Strauss/Corbin 1996; Strauss 1998) and distinguishes three levels to take the complexity of the life course regimes into account. As preliminary result, six central manners of coping of the young adults are depicting central promises, central aspects of social order and specific limitations within every manner of coping. They are offering similar possibilities in both countries, while at the same time, ways of formation and rationalization (Kessl 2013) are assigning different places to market, state and community in Spain and German, making one or the other promise or limitation of coping more probable. The narrow focus on workfare as central idea of activation policies displays its clear failure in Spain, where a striking absence of effect of market and public instruments is found, and it reveals the paternalistic allocation of youngsters within the German regime, which offers social rights due to the societal position. It leaves social work with the paradox situation of strengthening normalization and recognition of individuals in regime contexts which deny the access to both. Social policies which strengthen agency beyond (subprotective) workfare schemes can only be found very randomly. The idea of any social policy as a counterpart movement to capitalistic production (Polany 1978; Heimann 1980) does not yet emerge. Corresponding with politological analysis of the multiple crises on the macro level (Hall 2015, Dörre 2014; Moreno 2012; Lehndorff 2012), the European order reveals itself as strongly fragmented not only between but also within the nations states and strengthening the inequality of the scope of agency in the situation of unemployment.
EU Fem Roadmap, a research project co-financed by the “Rights, Equality & Citizenship” Program of the EU, conducts research on forced and early marriages in five EU member states (AT, DE, FR, PT, UK). The project unites the research experience of the University of Vechta with the practical experience of the participating social work organisations in the other partner countries. Forced marriage (FM) is defined as a union which lacks the free consent of at least one concerned party (cf. UN A/HRC/26/22: 4). It undermines the free choice of a spouse and therefore directly attacks democratic and humanistic core values. Early marriages are a special case of forced marriages, as children are unable to give truly informed and free consent, hence any marriage of a child has to be regarded as unrightful and forced. The issue of forced and early marriages has largely been framed as a subcultural phenomenon, which only concerns a minority of migrants, thus blaming the practice on “cultural differences” (cf. Sabbe et al. 2014: 172). The framing of the political discourse on FM, therefore, repeats and thereby strengthens an exclusion processes, as the victims as well as the perpetrators are portrayed as “the other”. EU Fem intends to uncover different solution strategies in the participating countries in order to establish a Roadmap aimed at helping all professionals in the field (i.e. police, social workers, outreach programs, NGOs) in effectively working with survivors of FM. As a basis for the Roadmap, expert and victim interviews are conducted in all partner countries simultaneously, which will serve to gain an insight into the effectiveness of the support systems as well as the best practices or potential weaknesses, both from the view of the professionals as well as the survivors. Subsequently, multi-disciplinary focus groups will evaluate the Roadmap before and after testing it in different international organisations for twelve months. In creating and disseminating a roadmap for transnational use in Europe, EU Fem aspires to reduce insecurities or potential weaknesses in support processes that disrupt effective prevention and intervention strategies. Spreading knowledge of FM may not only lead to quicker response processes but also ensure that the (albeit unknowing) repetition of harmful stereotypes and the perception of “otherness” towards the victims will be reduced, hence increasing solidarity with and inclusion of the survivors.
The recent global crisis led to a deterioration of living and working conditions, challenging governments and social work practice in Europe and beyond (Eurofound, 2014). Interestingly, Western social policy priorities shifted towards austerity measures and social investment strategies (Richardson, 2010; van Hooren, Kaasch, & Starke, 2014). Across Europe this is reflected in an explicit focus on combatting child poverty, in which networking and Early Childhood Education and Care services (ECEC) are believed to play a crucial role in levelling the playing field (European Commission, 2013, Katz & Redmond, 2009; OECD, 2006). Theoretical perspective Scholars indicate that knowledge about differentiated lifeworlds and contextualised experiences of families and children, as well as about how families differently view the ways in which they may be supported best in relation to changing social, economic, political circumstances, is limited (Dyson, Gorin, Hooper, & Cabral, 2008; Schiettecat, Roets, & Vandenbroeck, 2014). Compared to a theoretical frame of reference of a high quality supply of public services (see Parmentier, 1998; Roose & Bouverne-De Bie, 2003), it seems indeed that the main focus of providing a quality supply of ECEC services is restricted to availability, accessibility and affordability (Shlay et al, 2005; Vandenbroeck & Lazzari, 2014). This implies that the meaning of ‘quality’ of ECEC services risks to be defined as external to the families involved, which carries risks of decontexualisation (Featherstone, 2006; Schiettecat et al., 2014).Yet, in order to realize public services that correspond to social justice and human dignity (IFSW, 2000), it is important to adopt quality features of comprehensibility and usefulness too (Parmentier, 1998; Roose & Bouverne-De Bie, 2003). This asks for a more democratic understanding of ‘quality’ and questions the role of networks between ECEC services and other public services as possible leverages to do so. Research methodology In order to complement the existing body of research, the present study confronts shifting policy priorities with practices of support of ECEC professionals as well as with contextualized experiences and (new) emerging concerns of parents with young children (0-3 years old), who experienced unemployment in Limburg (Belgium) due to economic downsizing. In order to do so, the study draws on a directed approach to a qualitative content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005) of in-depth interviews with parents and ECEC professionals. Results and conclusion From a rights perspective it is argued that it is useful to take account of all five quality features (e.g. accessibility, accountability, availability, comprehensibility and usefulness) in public services in general, as leverages for a more equal possibility to lead a life in human dignity (Bouverne-De Bie et al., 2003; Roose & Bouverne-De Bie, 2003). This allows to develop ‘high quality’ as something which is inherently intertwined with the perspectives and lifeworld experiences of families.
Contribution presents initial findings of PhD research in three selected youth crisis centres in Slovenia. Study concentrates on existing work concepts for children and youth in crisis situations. Theoretically speaking crisis accommodation is short-term period of intensive cooperation between the youth, domestic environment and youth professional workers. On one hand there is intensive activity of professional workers in relation to youth through emotional support and problem solving. On the other hand we should have active youth participation in the helping process. Thus youth should become the centre of professional attention and decision-making simultaneously, while their social background is taken in consideration. Active participation implies approaches that are not based on the principals of formal institutions such as traditional schools. The working relationship concept plays important role in the activities of crisis centres. It takes place in an informal but nevertheless professional environment and enables development of a genuine personal contact between professionals and youth. The field of informal work with youth therefore demands overcoming formalized top-bottom relations rooted in traditional institutions. That is why the approach in dealing with youth can only be democratic or, in other words, should be based on dialogue and agreement; one where worker establishes a mutual interaction with youth. The central research interest examines how professional workers »do« this working relationship. Research itself is designed as combination of ethnographic participant observations and grounded theory approach. Initial findings shows that there are two overlapping fields concerning youth accommodation and intervention. As a type of accommodation, living in crisis centre is not essentially different from domestic living forms. Professional workers spend time with youth doing ordinary things such as preparing meals, washing the dishes, having free time, watching TV and similar. This field can be named as “everyday life”. The other field is more visibly connected with crisis situation and include activities aimed at resolving the crisis. This includes various conversational forms ranging from informal greetings, chats and dialogues, through half formal structured conversations, to formal multi team meetings. Therefore it can be named as “dialogue”. Observations are confirming that majority of work is done informal and both mentioned fields contribute in finding solutions. Another aspect are different approaches used in crisis centres. Two diverse approaches were perceived during initial part of field research. “Structured attention” approach is constructed around daily points that structure life in crisis centre, while roles of youth and professionals are clearly defined. On the other hand “free-floating attention” approach is far less structured and has more space for negotiating everyday life. Structured and free-floating attention can be “done” democratically. Future research steps will address advantages and disadvantages of both approaches and conditions under which they are implemented in democratic manner.
This dissertation project investigates the needs, interests, and resources of adolescent parents, who gave birth between the ages 14 and 21, regarding parental education. Supportive offers of parental education aim to be inclusive and thus want to reach parents of all ages. However, especially young parents use these offers rather seldom (e.g. Chamakalayil 2010). Regarding supportive institutions of social and educational work, the concept of lifeworld-orientation by Thiersch (1995) with its aim of capacity building by low-threshold social work seems to be suitable to reach “hard to reach” clientele. In regard to the “users” of supportive offers of social and educational work, the biography-oriented (Dausien 2014) as well as the socialisation-oriented (Labede/Thiersch 2014) advancements of the theoretical assumptions of rational decision making seem to be fruitful. Furthermore, the concept of trust (cf. Flick 1989) seems to play an important role for deciding (not) to attend supportive offers. Thus, the research question of the PhD-project is: “Why do adolescent parents decide (not) to attend supportive offers of parental education?” Referring to the Grounded Theory (Strauss/Corbin 1996; cf. Charmaz 2014) a triangulative qualitative research design (cf. Flick 2011) is used to answer the research question. Therefore, a triangulation of problem-centred interviews (Witzel 2000) and expert interviews (Bogner/Menz 2009) is conducted with teenage parents. Furthermore, the staff of various offers of parental education in Hamburg is interviewed by theory-generating expert interviews (Bogner/Menz 2009). Additionally, focus groups are executed with both parents and personnel. References: Bogner, Alexander & Menz, Wolfgang (2009): Das theoriegenerierende Experteninterview. Erkenntnisinteresse, Wissensformen, Interaktionen. In: Alexander Bogner, Beate Littig& Wolfgang Menz (Ed.): Experteninterviews. Theorien, Methoden, Anwendungsfelder (p. 61–98). Wiesbaden: VS. Chamakalayil, Lalitha (2010): Rückkehr zur "Mütterschule"? - Anforderungen an die Familienbildung angesichts der Situation einer vernachlässigten Zielgruppe. In: Anke Spies (Ed.): Frühe Mutterschaft. Die Bandbreite der Perspektiven und Aufgaben angesichts einer ungewöhnlichen Lebenssituation (p. 127–146): Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verl. Hohengehren. Charmaz, Kathy (2014): Constructing Grounded Theory. 2nd ed. London, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Dausien, Bettina (2014): "Bildungsentscheidungen" im Kontext biografischer Erfahrungen und Erwartungen. Theoretische und empirische Argumente. In: Ingrid Miethe, Jutta Ecarius & Anja Tervooren (Ed.): Bildungsentscheidungen im Lebenslauf. Perspektiven qualitativer Forschung (p. 39–61). Opladen: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Flick, Uwe (2011): Triangulation. Eine Einführung. Wiesbaden: VS. Flick, Uwe (1989): Vertrauen, Verwalten, Einweisen. Subjektive Vertrauenstheorien in sozialpsychiatrischer Beratung. Wiesbaden: DUV Psychologie. Labede, Julia & Thiersch, Sven (2014): Zur familialen Genese schulischer Bildungsentscheidungen - Sozialisationstheoretische Überlegungen und empirische Analysen jenseits rationaler Entscheidungsmodelle. In: Ingrid Miethe, Jutta Ecarius & Anja Tervooren (Ed.): Bildungsentscheidungen im Lebenslauf. Perspektiven qualitativer Forschung (p. 65–84). Opladen: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Strauss, Anselm L. & Corbin, Juliet M. (1996): Grounded Theory. Grundlagen qualitativer Sozialforschung. Weinheim: Beltz, PsychologieVerlagsUnion. Thiersch, Hans (1995): Lebensweltorientierte soziale Arbeit: Aufgaben der Praxis im sozialen Wandel. Weinheim: Juventa-Verlag. Witzel, Andreas (2000): Das problemzentrierte Interview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung /Forum: Qualitative Social Research 1 (1), Art. 22, http://nbnresolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0001228
During the last decades, an increasing interest in the issue of participation of children in shaping child welfare and protection services emerged on an international level. At a policy level, governments reinforced the participation rights of children, a development being grounded in the Children’s Rights Convention of 1989. Also at a practice level, child welfare and protection services aimed to strengthen the participation of children. In social work research, this emphasis on researching children’s participation has been endorsed. However, a rather rational, pre-structured and technical approach to participation is frequently promoted and implemented in child welfare and protection practices, leading to instrumental and tokenistic forms of participation that reproduce rather than question the generational order between adults and children. In my presentation, however, I will argue that pre-structured and technical participation approaches fail to embrace the children’s actual meaning-making and their lifeworld. In my social work research, the interdisciplinary field of childhood studies serves as a source of inspiration to theorize and revisit the meaning of children’s participation in residential child care. In childhood studies, adult-centered notions of childhood receive sharp critiques that construct children as not-yet-rational, not-yet-social, or in-the-process-of-becoming-social, which implies that children are typically treated as being dependent of adults, professions and institutions, who take care of them while being responsible for organizing their living conditions. In that sense, childhood is often constituted as a period of socialization during which children have to be educated but more recently also need to learn how to participate in broader society. This presentation is based on my extensive step-in-step-out-ethnography that was carried out in a residential child care unit in Italy from June to May 2015. The research study relies on the concept of agency that is developed by Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mische (1998), that allows to explore how children co-construct and exercise their agency in a specific social arena constituted in this case by a residential care unit. According to Emirbayer & Mische (1998, p. 1012) “Actors are always living simultaneously in the past, future, and present, and adjusting the various temporalities of their empirical existence to one another (and to their empirical circumstances) in more or less imaginative or reflective ways. They continuously engage patterns and repertoires from the past, project hypothetical pathways forward in time, and adjust their actions to the exigencies of emerging situations”. In the analysis, a variety of children’s modes of expressing agency (observing, acting, shouting, falling in silence, rebelling) are considered and illustrated. I will argue that if adults and social workers want to enter in a dialogue with children and give them space to participate in giving meaning to their past, present and future lives, they should question their own “adult” assumptions and sharpen their capacities for grasping and recognizing the subtle interests, concerns, desires and unspoken questions of children as a starting point.
The Capabilities Approach, human needs and responses of social work to the challenges of the integration of refugees in Germany Within the social work theory and practice in Europe the Capabilities Approach (CA), the justice-based approach as developed by Martha Nussbaum (2006) and Amartya Sen (2000), is vividly discussed as an alternative concept to conceptualize agency and social well-being of individuals as well as to evaluate the options provided by social work institutions and welfare state (Otto & Ziegler 2008). Especially, Nussbaum (2006, 78) considers the capabilities approach as a fully universal one. The capabilities she is listing are - according to Nussbaum - to be important for each and every citizen, in each and every nation and in this way similar to the international human rights approach. A similar approach is to be found in the Theory of Human Needs as introduced by Werner Obrecht (2008) as well as with the concept of a Social Work as a human rights profession as introduced by Silvia Staub-Bernasconi (2007). In this presentation, comprehensive analysis (Klassen 2015, 2016) based on the comparisons of human needs and capabilities of refugees and their integration in Germany will be discussed. The results of these analyses represent an attempt to reflect on the current integration’s law 2016 in Germany. It will be made clear which human needs and capabilities and, hence, human rights of refugees are being targeted and which are neglected by the new German legal regulations. This analysis could prove itself adequate for the further social work practice with refugees and provide many innovative ways to the analysis of the current integration concepts around the world. Bibliography Klassen, M. (2016): Die Fragen nach Gerechtigkeit im Case Management mit MigrantInnen und Flüchtlingen. In: Case Management, Heft 2, in print Klassen, M. (2015): Social Work, Capabilities and Needs. In: Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Volume XVII, No. 6 (77), Thematic Issue: Turbulence and Challenging Transitions of Everyday Life, S. 45-57 Nussbaum, M. (2006): Frontiers of Justice. Cambridge/London: Belknap Obrecht, W. (2008): Was braucht der Mensch? Zur Struktur und Funktion einer naturalistischen Theorie menschlicher Bedürfnisse. Luxemburg. Ligue Medico-Sociale. Otto, H.-U.& Ziegler, H. (Hg.) (2008): Capabilities – Handlungsbefähigung und Verwirklichungschancen in der Erziehungswissenschaft. Wiesbaden: VS Sen, A. (2000): Ökonomie für den Menschen. Wege zu Gerechtigkeit und Solidarität in der Marktwirtschaft. München: dtv Staub-Bernasconi, S. (2007): Soziale Arbeit als Handlungswissenschaft. Systemische Grundlagen und professionelle Praxis. Ein Lehrbuch. Bern: Haupt
Collaboration, cooperation and networking are defined in political as well as academic discourses as essential for an efficent child protection work. Accordig to legal foundation generic social work services and kindergartens have to collaborate with each other to ensure child protection work too. In summary, it can be determined that the results of the current state of research in pertinent research areas for this proposed project reveals academic voids. Among others, studies about subject-related and on-topic knowledge bases of professionals of social work and early education are postulated (e.g. Rißmann et al. 2014). Furthermore the empirical results of studies of cooperation revealed evident that the knowledge of the cooperative partner is crucial for successful collaborations (e.g. van Santen/Seckinger 2003/2012). But empirical research about reciprocal knowledge between pedagogical professionals of generic social work services and kindergartens during collaborations isn`t realized so far. Taking into account this academic void, the interests of the ongoing doctoral research project are on the subjective relevant and available stocks of knowledge of professionals in their everyday professional life. More precisely: Which knowledge of pedagogical professionals about their cooperative partners influences the collaborations between generic social work services and kindergartens in child protection work? What was the genesis of these knowledge bases? How reflective are professionals in regard to their own knowledge and unknowing? To realize the investigative goal of reconstructing the knowledge bases of professionals, the research design is based on the Schutz’s phenomenological-interpretive theory of the life-world and his methodological assumptions (Schutz 1996/2011). The methodical approach is achieved by the episodic interview of Uwe Flick (1996) and reconstructive methods of the hermeneutic sociology of knowledge. At about 10 Bavarian locations interviews will be conducted with pedagogical professionals of generic social work services and kindergartens who already have experiences in collaborations in child protection work. The presentation focuses on the discussion of the research methods and summarizes the first interview results. References: Flick, Uwe 1996: Psychologie des technischen Alltags. Soziale Konstruktion und Repräsentation technischen Wandels in verschiedenen kulturellen Kontexten, Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag. Rißmann, Michaela/Hellmann, Maria/Lochner, Barbara/Thole, Werner 2014: Pädagogische Professionalität und Professionalisierung in den außerfamilialen Angeboten der Pädagogik der Kindheit. In: Braches-Chyrek, Rita/Röhner, Charlotte/Sünker, Heinz/Hopf, Michaela (Eds.): Handbuch frühe Kindheit, Opladen: Budrich, S. 463–477. Schutz, Alfred 1996: Collected Papers IV., Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Schutz, Alfred 2011: Collected Papers V. Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V. van Santen, Eric/Seckinger, Mike 2003: Kooperation: Mythos und Realität einer Praxis. Eine Empirische Studie zur interinstitutionellen Zusammenarbeit am Beispiel der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe. München: Verlag Deutsches Jugendinstitut. van Santen, Eric; Seckinger, Mike 2012: Kooperation im ASD. In: Joachim Merchel (Eds.): Handbuch Allgemeiner Sozialer Dienst (ASD). München: Reinhardt, p. 341–356.
Over the past three decades, social work in the People’s Republic of China has undergone major changes following massive socioeconomic reforms. Due to subsequent industrialisation, urbanisation, modernisation and rural-urban migration as the country moved to a market-oriented economy from the policy of economic reform launching in 1978, the gap between the rich and the poor gradually widened, while uneven socioeconomic development between urban and rural areas and the eastern and western regions of China ensued. As a result of these changes, the country has experienced rapid economic growth generating tremendous wealth alongside a complex amalgam of social challenges, including ‘poverty, income disparities, family breakdown, … unemployment, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, homeless children, [increased] mental health [issues] and an ageing population’ . In response to these social challenges threatening ‘social stability’, China ‘sparked a major social engineering process, creating possibly the largest [state-supported] social work community in the world’ in less than 20 years. On the one hand, China has shown a growing interest in professionalizing its social work workforce (Hutchings & Taylor, 2007; Leung, 2007; Gao & Yan, 2015). On the other hand, it has been argued that western worldviews do not fit well the socio-economic and political setting of China (Hutchings & Taylor, 2007). These two observations make social work in China “an interesting contemporary case study for those interested in international social work” (Gray & Coates, 2010, 614). The current research on social work in China is, however, confronted with three interrelated problems: (1) scholarly work on social work in China has been mainly developed by researchers outside China (Gray, 2008) and often starts from a dichotomization of Western culture and indigenous culture (Huang & Zhang, 2011); (2) there is a lack of empirical social work research from within China in which culturally appropriate and local social work responses are considered as the subject of research (see Tsang et al., 2008); and (3) there is a lack of attention for rural social work (Huang & Zhang, 2008). Based on these insights, the central objective of this doctoral research is therefore to gain theoretical and empirical evidence from social work in rural areas in China. In rural China, non-governmental organisations provide social work in issues of poverty alleviation (Gao & Yan, 2015), and women are considered as important human resources for these rural communities (Croll, 1980; Fan, 2008). Social work in rural China therefore mainly focuses on the empowerment of women in situations of poverty (Hu, 2012). In that vein, this research project will engage in theoretical and empirical research about the role of social work in the empowerment of women in rural China. Also in the internationally accepted and global definition of social work, the empowerment of people is considered as one of the four core mandates of social work (see International Federation of Social Workers, 2014). As such, the project will contribute to the development of a culturally relevant definition of empowerment-oriented social work on a global level.
How can social work in social services become an active democratic agent in times of rapid social change? The point of departure in this contribution is that the need of democratic communication is tremendous in modern society and that the possibility to act according to this insight, is more difficult than it ever has been in modern times, because of the challenges of globalisation and migration; the demand for communication is strangled by neoliberalism’s presence in social services through New Public Managment. The question to be answered is how democracy and communication can be realized in this bureaucratic setting, after all. Democracy is not understood as a stable and static state of affairs, but rather as a frail, but vigorous, condition that only exists to the degree that people act democratically. The greater the role that communication, deliberation and reflection play in official activities, the more democratic the society is. In hindsight it becomes obvious that the more diverse and complex society has become, due to globalisation, migration, the crisis of the nation state and the decline of the welfare state, the more conformal and hierarchical the control of the public institutions have become. As one of the public institutions that institutionalize the moral conceptions of how life should be lived, social services have the potential of being a democratic forum that contributes to the strengthening of social equality. Social equality is the prerequisite for gender equality in society and in families, but through the past twenty years the Swedish society has raised increasingly stronger demands for gender equality in cultural minority group families, at the same time as the general welfare system’s capacity to create the necessary tools for developing equality, have been in decline. In this turmoil social problems are to an ever increasing degree percieved of in terms of lack of individuality and reflexivity in minority contexts, leading to compulsory interventions in families under the Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions Act). Research shows that investigations of foreign-born children or children with foreign-born parents lead to compulsory care and 24-hour care outside the home more often than investigations of Swedish-born children with Swedish-born parents. The interaction between the social worker and the client should, ideally spoken, according to the law, be characterized by voluntary consensus. This requires that the participants in the interaction situation find a mutual understanding of the event that has created the interaction situation. They need to find intersubjectivity, but the possibility of achieving intersubjectivity varies, due to the closeness or distance between the lifeworlds and, hence, the moral values of all the participants. In purpose of finding ways to understand how moral complexity can be an active tool in the democratic enterprise of reaching necessary mutual understanding in the social work context described initially, the concept of i) intersubjectivity must be combined with ii) intersectionality for the possibility to recognize the complex power relations involved, and iii) discourse ethics for the possibility to analyzing the communication itself.
The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. In different countries, the focus on risk in social work is rooted in political and cultural responses to tragedies (for instance the dead of Victoria Climbie and the case of “baby P” in the UK, the Savanna case in The Netherlands, etc.). As a consequence, it has been stated that an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding meaningfully to the needs and concerns of children and families. Social workers would fear for their accountability, their physical and mental well-being; for being blamed when things go wrong. In that sense, there is a culture of fear, cultivated by society. In the available body of research, it is argued that this general tendency creates “anxious” professionals. As a response, different scholars refer to the need to “speak back to fear”. We analyze this claim within the frame of a pedagogy of concern interpretation, in the context of a currently ongoing large-scale policy reform, named Integrated Youth Care, in the field of child welfare and protection in Flanders (Belgium). In this reform, the notion of detecting and dealing with ‘alarming situations’ is central. The first phase of our ongoing research is a document analysis of 349 situations which have been diagnosed as alarming by social workers. The preliminary findings of our analysis indicate that: - The notions of risk, alarming situations and fear are ‘thick’ concepts with a lot of possible different meanings. Hence, a more nuanced and layered debate about risk and speaking back to fear is needed. - It often turns out to be difficult for social workers to talk openly about what they find alarming to clients and colleagues. Hence, a more thorough analysis of how and to whom we should ‘speak back’ to is needed. In this presentation we discuss these findings and the next research steps, according to the research questions how social workers ‘can speak back’ in alarming situations and what kind of pedagogical practice is developed in the Integrated Youth Care in Flanders.
A distinct social trend that directly and indirectly affects social work is the shift from a welfare focus to a health focus on many issues and problems that were previously defined as social in nature. Medical ways to understand and examine conditions such as abuse, criminality or mental illness (the study of brain functions, hormones and genes rather than the link to socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances) are by medicalization- and individualization processes given priority over the broad social science perspectives that social work rests on. A parallel trend is the introduction of New Public Management principles and the obsession to evaluate and measure performance and to make public service providers accountable. This development has culminated in various forms of governmental ‘knowledge management’ to ensure a so-called evidence-based practice. Social work is consequently deemed valuable only insofar it can show clear results in curing people’s personal problems. In Sweden, bureaucrats at the central state level have introduced these reforms in which the so-called National Board of Health and Welfare has a key-role. I will discuss the approach to knowledge that is conveyed in today's institutionalized version of ‘national governing of knowledge’. In a recent Swedish governmental report titled ‘Comprehensive governing of knowledge for healthcare and social services’, ‘governing of knowledge’ is defined as: “... a system that aims to increasingly provide an evidence-based practice in order to disseminate quality-guaranteed knowledge to be applied in different public sectors, while non-evidence-based or harmful practices are cleared out. (Ds 2014: 9, p. 51; my translation)” I will critically scrutinize the key building blocks in this rational ‘knowledge management’ system, based on how roles and responsibilities are presented in various official documents. I especially focus on knowledge and perspectives that are at great risk of being excluded by this system, and on the consequences it brings for social work research and practice, for example regarding the possibilities to challenge dominant discourses on social problems and solutions.
Health is a human right – enhancing health within society is a basic approach of welfare practise in democracy. In today’s mostly neo liberal thinking, this approach habitually is subsumed in an approach on the individual’s capacities. Individuals have to achieve health to be a valuable part of society. This individual responsibility is deeper connected with the assumption to save money in health care and social welfare systems, rather than a real health promotion approach. Health promotion enables people to increase their own ability to control and to improve their health (WHO 1986). Under current conditions this postulation rather develops into a distorted demand on individual’s health responsibilities. The original aim of social work to engage people and structures (IFSW 2014) falls in a subordinate position. Referring to adolescence, a life period of increasing biopsychosocial changes and challenges, health and health promotion become an important issue for social welfare practise all over the world. Young people’s aspirations and developmental tasks correlate highly with indicators of biopsychosocial well-being and become a particular factor for an analysis of the real option space for young people to improve their health. Health related behaviours can take an impact on the realization opportunities for their whole life. Risky behaviours, psychosocial strain and chronical diseases, to point out some examples, can effect health extensively into adulthood. Therefore, the presentation efforts on the topic of health promotion in adolescence and opens the question, how social welfare practise can improve health in adolescence. Based on the Capability Approach the paper will open up a view on the perspective of biopsychosocial well-being of young people. This purpose refers to developmental tasks as a normative and international guiding framework for a ‘good life’ and human well-being in that specific life period. Moreover, it relates to the subjective availability of resources helping youngsters to keep control on their health to feel well and manage daily challenges. The presentation emphasises to look in the structure beyond these subjective constructs of health and well-being. The aim is to get insight in motives and strategies of health related behaviours, emerging in socio cultural contexts. The question for social welfare – this will be the assumption of the presentation - is not only to enhance young people’s resources to act healthy. Moreover, a health related social welfare system in the meaning of democratic human right practise has to enlarge the analytical focus on the structural and particular subtle boarders. Young people live in these boarders. They offer the options and limitations for real opportunities to fulfil an individual valued healthy life.
Practice research is a growing academic movement in Finish and international social work; the 4th international conference is organized in Hong Kong, May 2017. Practice research approach is one response on the dominance of evidence-based practice not adequately addressing the complexities of present social work practice and the need for tools to upgrade professional practice. The main features of practice research include the following: it is open, collective and dialogical working with shared objects between researchers, professionals and service users. Heikki Waris Institute is the Finnish site for over 30 projects in practice research since 2000. For the first time, the concept of social work practice research was argued 2005 in a textbook. The second textbook (2016) introduced the present art of Finnish practice research as a means for improving democratic citizenship among people and service users. The book consists of 11 research-based and referred articles, most of them contributing to the mentioned theme. Thus, the research question is: How does social work practice research as knowledge practice enable promoting democracy and participation in social work practice among the different groups of participants? The analyzed data consists of the recently published articles and some former practice research reports of Heikki Waris Institute developing means to improve people’s democratic rights for participation in practice i.e., in different forms of service development. The preliminary results show, Institute’s practice research takes place in ever transforming collaboration networks, and the Institute is a forum for exchange and interaction where shared meanings, concepts, tools, artefacts and particular methods are developed and argued in close collaboration with agencies, social work practitioners and service users. The ongoing analysis is describing some proved examples of good practice with the aim of increasing democratic relationships and people’s participation in social work practice. The implications of the study include encouragement for other practice-oriented researchers to take advantage of small scale experiments or other creative solutions on grass-root level, and to collaborate with practice, i.e with both service users and social workers in knowledge production advancing social work as a forum for local democracy.
“The Centers for Ambulant Rehabilitation (CAR) offer interdisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic interventions aimed at people with a disorder and their environment. Rehabilitation aims to improve the personal and social functioning of the person in the family, school, work and other social situations and focusses at a better orientation of the environment to the specific needs of the individual.” The interventions mostly focus on children with development problems. Social workers are part of the multidisciplinary team. The focus on the individual and emphasis on intra-psychic problems in the CAR is not an isolated fact, but takes shape in social and historical contexts. Today the rehabilitation process targets children from a prevention perspective. More specific: to avoid development problems, delinquent behavior and risks so, in later life, they are able to participate in the labor market. In the CAR there’s a paradigm shift from the bio-medical discourse towards a bio-psychosocial discourse, like the ICF, but the focal point remains the individual. Within this logic, it is self-evident that the CAR are funded through an insurance principle. This is the core of the discussion: structural phenomena and problems, like disability, poverty and development disorders are attributed to individual characteristics, consequently it is assumed that these issues can be resolved with techniques aimed at dealing with the individual problem itself. Influenced by the ICF-model, social workers appear to be facing an increasing demand to register contextual factors, but only at the level of the individual person. Thus, the critical voice on structural inequality and social exclusion seems to disappear. In these circumstances, the existing inequality is being reinforced because it’s a system constructed around the middle class. Moreover, if or when parents access to these services, empowerment is reduced to the individual level. Does this mean that social workers in the CAR are “unfaithful angels” (Specht & Courtney, 1995) who left there “principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities” behind? Social workers seek to bring a different perspective in their medical environment. Their work has another content compared to their para-medical colleagues, but also they bring in an ambivalent accountability and question social evidences. In addition, social workers operate in given relationships with others so that they can pursue a more equitable society. Social workers are well aware that they cannot escape from their own relations, zeitgeist and participation in dominant discourses, but they can reflect on what is happening. In conclusion, social work practices, even in the Centers for Ambulant Rehabilitation, are not technical by nature, but ethical and political.” Biesta, GJJ (2011). The Ignorant Citizen: Mouffe, Ranciere, and the Subject of Democratic Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 30(2), pp. 141-153. Dahlberg, G. & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and politics in early childhood education. London/New York: RoutledgeFalmer Dominelli, L. (2012). Green social work. From environmental crises to environmental justice. Cambridge/Malden: Polity Press Specht, H., & Courtney, M.E. (1994). Unfaithfull Angels. How social work has abandoned its mission. New York: The free Press.
Following the reviews of federal disability insurance in Switzerland, the integration of recipients into the ordinary labour market and their activation throughout the rehabilitation process have become matters that take priority over possible compensation through a disability pension. This "active" integration is especially increasing in times of financial problems of the disability insurance. Here, we analyse the professional practices in a cantonal disability insurance office for the entitled persons (those with impaired health and reduced earning capacity). We focus on a specific task within disability insurance, namely helping to place recipients in employment, a task performed by ten advisers within the office analysed. Helping to place disabled people in employment is a rehabilitation measure in the same way as retraining, for example, which is often the first step. This help consists of active support in finding (or holding down) a suitable job (via advice, assistance in preparing a job application, etc.), and also of various incentives aimed at employers (internship, financial support to employ people, etc.). In this study, help in job placement is analysed from the point of view of the norms currently found within the disability insurance system, namely the "active" integration of recipients. In addition to a documentary analysis (laws, specifications, etc.) we made some observations and conducted explanatory interviews with social workers from the office in question about their activity. This methodology, supported by the theoretical approach of analysing the activity, enables us, firstly, to gain a practical understanding of the norms of the disability insurance system as the professional activity takes place and also via feedback from professionals. We show, through recruitment situations among employers, that the "make some effort" norm is often mentioned as an instruction used to activate benefit recipients so that they are viewed as deserving to be employed. This norm takes on a content that varies according to the situation (for example, going to see a doctor). Furthermore, it has some consequences such as, for example, postponing the decision as to whether to recruit a recipient as a permanent employee, extending his/her period of temporary employment in order to test him/her more thoroughly. Moreover, any lack of willingness on the part of a recipient is seen as an indicator when assessing the potential financial risks that the employer takes in employing a person with a disability. Secondly, the explanatory interviews made enable social workers to talk about their work. These constitute rare occasions when practitioners examine their ways of working, and then discussed them (in a democratic way) with other colleagues. This sharing enabled some reflective feedback to emerge concerning the ways of interpreting the disability insurance norms, which here focus on the behaviour of the recipient and on the consequences of these interpretations on the decisions taken. Such an interpretation, based on behaviour by the recipient that might be problematic, could have a "disabling" effect, reducing the equal opportunity of gaining employment as wished for example by the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities 2006.
Internationally, the strengths perspective is more and more applied in different fields of social work, e.g. in youth care. As a reaction against the dominant problem focused paradigm, exponents of the strengths-based approach propagate another way of thinking about and approaching clients, focusing on strengths of children and parents and on hope as the main building blocks in the helping relation. Strengths-based approaches also aim to work collaborative and power equal, to leave the expert position and to challenge the reported problems through collective and joint dialogical construction. However, till today strengths-based approaches are rather characterized by ‘beliefs’ and assumptions, because there is little ‘empirical’ insight into the dialogical interactions between client and professional in strengths-based approaches. Nevertheless strengths-based work seems to be part of a construction of a dominant discourse in social work, also in youth care policy in Flanders. Within this context the approach of ‘positive reorientation’ - a particular case of strengths-based work in youth care – is unrolled and subsidized by the Flemish Government (2015). We argue that research is needed to explore how the basic assumptions of strengths-based work are operationalized in youth care practice. This question can be approached on the micro-analytical level of the interaction and dialogue between client and professional to find out if they can be seen as a realization of the lines of force of the strengths-based approach. We suggest that the use of the qualitative research method of conversation analysis can be helpful for this purpose.
Introduction: The number of people with mental health problems is continuously growing. Even though the progress made, people with mental health problems still face social and economic difficulties. There is a gap on literature about the problems that are facing the users of mental health services in Albania. Aim: The aim of this study was to identify the problems that the users of mental health services are facing on their daily life. Methodology: In this study was used the qualitative method. The sample selection strategy was intentional, based on the criteria. The instrument used for data collection was semi-structured interview with open-ended question. Data collections were made possible by interviewing 9 social workers that are working in community mental health centres and in NGO-s in Tirana. Results: Through data analyzes it came out that: (i) Most of users of mental health services are living in extreme poverty without being able to complete their basic needs. The social care system has not being inclusive; (ii) Most of users of mental health services are living with their parents and they are isolated most of the time. Albania belongs to the country where interactions between each – other are relatively high and having a relative diagnosed with mental health problems is still considered a shame. For that reason they are forced to stay isolated in their home as a result of shame and high levels of stigma and discrimination in community. Stigma and discrimination do not allow be involved in social life or in social activities; (iii) A main problem remains the lack of information that the community had. The process of deinstitutionalization in Albania had begun late, as a result of historical developments. The lack of information that community had influences on the wellbeing of the users of mental heath services, including health and their social skills. Recommendation: The users of mental health services need more help and support from the government. Furthermore, information campaigns are very important to show support and solidarity for those living with mental illness and their families too. Key words: Problems, users of mental health, services.
The decline of professionalism in social work is object of disputation since many decades. Firstly, there is the discussion about the diminution of interest in the structural level of social problems (Marston & McDonald, 2012; Weiss-Gal, 2008). Secondly, new generations of social workers are supposed to incline the idea of welfare conditionality (De Tollenaere & Van Exem, 2011). And thirdly, some debates describe an evolution towards an increasingly shallow technical (Kam, 2014; Karger & Hernandez, 2004), ticking-boxes (Gillingham, 2011) professional. Although these critiques forewarn of important issues and problems, they also portray social work in a devolutionary way. These discussions are often characterised by a nostalgic and one-directional view on ‘good’ social work. In this view former social work is beguiled, while critiques are targeted at the new generation of social workers. But no generation holds the key to the absolute truth. Contrarily, an intergenerational perspective on professionalism offers a more dynamic understanding of professionalism (Brandt, Roose, & Verschelden, 2015). In this paper I would like to discuss some preliminary findings of research in progress in a large public institution of social welfare in Flanders, Belgium. In this study professionalism is conceptualised by the term 'professional ideology’, which consists of an existential and evaluative view (Armor & Klerman, 1968) on social work professionalism. The study reveals various professional ideologies in every generation of social workers. It also points out to a friction between professional ideology and practice. The dominance of institutional and societal change - characterised by increased legislation, complexity, ICT, protocols and administrative supervision of agency policies and procedures - forces the new generation to start off in a framework that promotes individual oriented and technical professionalism. Armor, D. J., & Klerman, G. L. (1968). Psychiatric Treatment Orientations and Professional Ideology. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 9(3), 243-255. Brandt, S., Roose, R., & Verschelden, G. (2015). Coming Up for Air: Exploring an Intergenerational Perspective on Social Work. British Journal of Social Work. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcv055 De Tollenaere, K., & Van Exem, S. (2011). Verschil in toekenning van leefloon in het OCMW. (Master), UGent, Gent. Gillingham, P. (2011). Decision-making tools and the development of expertise in child protection practitioners: are we ‘just breeding workers who are good at ticking boxes’? Child & Family Social Work, 16(4), 412-421. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00756.x Kam, P. K. (2014). Back to the ‘social’ of social work: Reviving the social work profession’s contribution to the promotion of social justice. International Social Work, 57(6), 723-740. doi: 10.1177/0020872812447118 Karger, H., & Hernandez, M. T. (2004). The decline of the public intellectual in social work. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 31(3), 51-68. Marston, G., & McDonald, C. (2012). Getting beyond 'Heroic Agency' in Conceptualising Social Workers as Policy Actors in the Twenty-First Century. British Journal of Social Work, 42(6), 1022-1038. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs062 Weiss-Gal, I. (2008). The person-in-environment approach: professional ideology and practice of social workers in Israel. Soc Work, 53(1), 65-75.
The target groups of social work experience complex and interrelated problems. The concept of ‘wicked problems’ refers to the multidimensional character of social problems without an obvious solution (Rittel and Webber, 1973, Ferlie et al., 2011). Social work organizations collaborate to address these complex problems and to achieve better welfare in the lives of vulnerable target groups. Collaboration is often portrayed as an important instrument to achieve good results in social work (Wiklund, 2006). According to Blom (2004), a network of social workers must consist of both generalists and specialists. These generalist social workers can develop a specialization and, in order to meet the needs of their clients, collaborate with other specialists (Blom, 2004). Literature reveals that there is a need for a better understanding of the realities of social workers at case level (Darlington et al., 2004). The wide range of problems of the target groups requires social workers to assume a wide range of roles in daily practice (Hall, 2008). Hood (2015) states that in a network with generalists and specialists there is an incomplete differentiation of roles and responsibilities which leads to dysfunction of the network. It has also been stated that a lack of clarity concerning the roles between agencies in an network causes problems about responsibility towards the client (Pinkney et al., 2008). Recent literature defines the importance of generalist service organizations fulfilling a broker role and a mediator role in a network with specialist organizations (Raeymaeckers, 2016). In this research we analyze the roles social workers fulfill in the collaboration among generalist and specialist service agencies. We analyze a network of social workers counseling prisoners in Brussels. Eight generalist social services (with a certain specialty e.g. volunteers, financial help, asylum,…) work together in a network and collaborate with specialists outside the network. This case has similarities to the model of Blom (2004). We organize focus groups and qualitative interviews with social workers. Our findings show the roles social workers fulfil and the importance of generalist social workers in a network. References: Blom, B. (2004). Specialization in Social Work Practice. Effects on Interventions in the Personal Social Services. Journal of Social Work, 4(1), pp. 25-46. Ferlie, E., Fitzgerald, L., McGivern, G., Dopson, S., & Bennett, C. (2011). Public policy networks and wicked problems: A nascent solution? Public Administration. 89 (2), pp. 307-324. Hall, R., (2008). The evolution of social work practice: implications for the generalist approach. International Journal of Social Welfare, 17, pp. 390-395. Hood, R., (2012) Complexity and integrated working in children’s services. British Journal of Social Work., 44 (1), pp. 27-43. Rittel, H.W.J., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4, pp. 155-169. Wiklund, S. (2006). United we stand? Collaboration as a means for identifying children and adolescents at risk. International Journal of Social Welfare, 16, pp. 202–211. Raeymaeckers, P. (2016) A specialist’s perspective on the value of generalist practice: a qualitative network analysis. Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1468-0173, p. 1-17.
The International Association of Schools of Social Work’s 2010 census documented growth in social work education worldwide. In Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), new wave of academisation and the expansion of university social work programs had started in a period of post-war and post-socialist transitions. Demands of neoliberal restructuring, international actors in social work education, shortage of social workers as well as, ethnic divisions within the country had created a favorable context for establishing more social work schools. Today, Bachelor degree in social work is offered by four public universities in BiH. These developments were followed by increased number of graduate social workers over the last decade. However, there is a lack of scientific knowledge about the graduate social workers’ experiences and trajectories since the moment of completion of undergraduate studies. This paper is based on my doctoral dissertation – an ongoing critical action research. It´s dynamic and non-linear study design started with exploration of the existing situation based on the graduate social workers’ experiences and perspectives. The aim of the study is to generate critical understandings in collaboration with graduate social workers of their individual experiences and issues they have encountered after graduation, as well as to contribute to identification of alternative perspectives and action spaces in response to the given situation. Research participants were recruited from a single social work school – University of Banja Luka. In 2014 I have started to follow those who had up to three years of experience since completion of social work studies. Data collection consists of individual semi-structured interviews, group discussions, field notes and documents. Data analysis has been developed in progression with research process. It started as data-driven qualitative analysis employing thematic analysis, followed by narrative analysis and critical discourse analysis. Research participants reported about limited and unequal access to employment in mainstream social work, being pushed into precarious jobs outside of social work profession and below their qualifications, but also on precarious circumstances to which they were exposed to within the social work field as newly graduated social workers. Each of them were using individual strategies to address these issues. However, resistance to given situation as individual acts of resistance nor collective actions were taking place. With this paper I will present the process of facilitating change and actions that were developed in response to given situation.
This paper reports findings from a cross-national systematic review of empirical social work literature relating to undocumented migrant children and young people. Undocumented Children and Young People The term undocumented refers to a range of immigration statuses that are subject to change over time: unaccompanied or separated children who have been refused asylum, trafficked children, children who migrate irregularly with relatives and children who are born to undocumented parents may be considered undocumented if they lack documentation giving them the right to reside in their country of destination. Despite the heterogeneity of the migration experiences captured by the broad term undocumented, all undocumented migrant children and young people are at the centre of a conflict between children’s rights legislation and immigration policy where their universal rights as children are qualified by being “illegal” citizens of the countries in which they reside. This policy tension exists at local, national and international levels and the treatment of children subject to immigration controls varies within and across nations. In addition to a complex intersection of legal rights, being undocumented is linked with poverty, social exclusion and exploitation. Therefore, undocumented children and young people are likely to face difficulties that social work-with its concern for human rights and social justice- aims to address. Social Work and Undocumented Children and Young People Social work inquiry in the field of migration has predominantly focused on research with refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied children and young people who come into contact with state services through the asylum system. However, children without legal status are also likely to have contact with state institutions through education, healthcare and social services. Practitioners, including social workers, practice within the conflict between undocumented young people’s rights as children and their status as undocumented migrants. For social workers, engaging with undocumented young people and their families is fraught with complexities given their duty to report individuals who are suspected of committing an immigration offence and the duty to protect and promote the rights of children and young people. Method In accordance with EPPI Centre guidelines, this paper reviews primary empirical literature published in English (2000-2016). Following a scoping study, key word searches of the following databases will be conducted: Web of Science: EBSCO Host: and ProQuest, which includes the Applied Social Sciences Index and Social Services Abstracts. The bibliographies of key texts identified during database searches will be examined for relevant primary studies. Inclusion criteria will be applied – studies relating to children or young people (up to age 24), without legal status and written by social work academics or focused on social work practice or attitudes towards undocumented migrant young people will be included. The Weight of Evidence framework will be used to appraise the quality and relevance of selected studies. By mapping the themes that emerge, this paper will identify the foci of social work literature relating to undocumented children and young people and evaluate the existing evidence about social work practice in this complex area.
In the fight against poverty, social work has been assigned a pivotal role. This is not surprising since on the one hand poverty is perceived as a violation of human rights and as a form of social injustice while these concepts are stipulated to be at the heart of social work. On the other hand, social work is precisely criticized for a weakening concern in the fight for social justice. Notwithstanding this critique, this does not imply that social work unambiguously withdraws from these core values. Social work can either comply with societal mechanisms or make an autonomous analysis of what is happening in society. Since social work does not merely position itself as a technical activity or as an executor of policy but also as a normative activity, questions about how contemporary social work can contribute to social justice are relevant. These questions can be conceived as timeless since social work already received criticism 100 years ago from Simon Nelson Patten for being involved mainly in individual casework. He called this ‘a vain struggle against impossibilities’ since it did not have the capacity to bring about societal change. Although the emergence of structural approaches in social work - where societal change is at the core of their vision - can be considered as a response to this critiques, these approaches were also critiqued for investing in a struggle against impossibilities. Rather than translating the contribution of social work to social justice into methodological approaches, we want to engage more deeply in the tension of whether social work complies with the societal ordering and/or has the possibilities to stimulate societal change. To capture the complexity of the social justice aspirations of social work, we are inspired by the work of Nancy Fraser who advocates a politics of redistribution, recognition and representation, and identifies affirmative and transformative ways of dealing with injustices. Based on these insights, our central argument is that social work easily slides into one-sided affirmative or transformative strategies, conveying an idea that the complexity that’s inherent to social work can be ignored or resolved. We suggest that social work can position itself as a necessary struggle against impossibilities if it embraces its complex and ambiguous nature while creating a cultural forum for public debate about social justice issues. From the idea of this cultural forum, we will argue that social works role is precisely to ‘keep the door open’ to the complexity of the problem of poverty where it will find itself in a tension between affirming and transforming the social order. Notwithstanding the fact and pressing awareness, that on the one hand social work cannot solve the problem of poverty, on the other hand social work cannot limit its role to the mediation of the consequences of poverty either.
Positive Reorientation is a methodology and, mostly, a philosophy that aims to re-connect family members with themselves and each other. The practice was developed and continuously refined in the daily work with families at Oranjehuis – a Flemish, innovative non-profit organization that aims to create sustainable, positive changes in the lives of children/youth and their families. The prevention of any type of exclusion from societal structures is at the core of its mission. The long waiting lists in the care system inspired us to take action. We wanted to demonstrate the importance of acting immediately. We believe that people can use the energy of the crisis to create new dynamics. We started an experiment with 10 cases in 2008-2009. In 2010 we took on 82 cases, in 2011 184 and since 2012 250 per year. Survey shows that 65% of these cases can be ‘closed’ after 4 months without further assistance. Discussions with the Flemish Welfare Department led to the implementation of the framework and methodology of Positive Reorientation in 24 other organizations. Positive Reorientation is in fact another way of looking at and dealing with problems in families. Appreciative inquiry and open communication are some of its fundamental principles. We focus on possibilities rather than problems. The use of positive, appreciative language helps people to step out of their problem-focused reality. We operate on the level of emotions and feelings rather than searching for solutions for all the facts that emerge as a symptom of the lost link. The process aims to prevent exclusion by including, activating and re-connecting all stakeholders in the process. Key is the initiation of an intensive collaboration between referral source, clients and other relevant care workers (if involved). Positive Reorientation puts an emphasis on people’s own energy and their own responsibility to find a way to deal with their problem(s). It teaches people to shift their focus from a (learned) helplessness to the drive that originates from the initial love for each other. The facilitator’s role formulates a true alternative for the specialization and professionalization of social workers and the risk of alienation from the care system that comes with it. We introduce a different kind of relationship between caregiver and clients. The focus is the human aspect. We role-model open and genuine communication ourselves and, simultaneously, lead a process that facilitates family members and other participants to do the same. We consider it our mission to not only change the mindset of families, but also that of the care system and the policy makers. All parties are assigned to look for a shared solution to the challenges we face. We engage our referral sources to not pass the responsibility when they feel disconcert. We debate with other caregivers and the government to implement strategies of fair process, and, in doing so, we continue to speak openly and genuinely with everyone. Because if we can change the nature of our conversation, we change the nature of our communities.
Danish schools are currently facing a reform (Folkeskolereformen, 2013) which tends to reduce the impact of social background on educational opportunities, and also to improve the wellbeing and learning outcomes of all students. Thus, the purpose of my PhD project is to development a worker self-management intervention that potentially increases these outcomes of socially vulnerable children attending kindergarten and first grade. The purpose of the study will also be to determine how teachers and educators understand the term ‘vulnerability’, and to identify similarities or differences if any especially regarding the dimensions of academic learning (teaching and differentiated instructions) and social and emotional learning (student collaboration and community), and which implications this might have for the socially vulnerable children. The study is theoretically grounded in the Danish and international field of educational sociology (Hansen, 2005; Bourdieu and Passeron, 2006) with a focus on social reproduction and social mobility. Research that also clarifies in which way educational opportunities traditionally is influenced by social background. Despite the fact that Danish and Nordic research regarding intervention for socially vulnerable children in context of school are limited, it has shown, that the adult-child interaction plays an importance role to both wellbeing and learning outcomes (Pianta, 1999; Silver et al., 2005; Klinge, 2016). The study will be conducted as a controlled trial on the basis of action research (Nielsen & Nielsen, 2015), which allows the practitioners to become involved in developing the intervention in collaboration with the PhD student. Data will be collected through a mixed-methods design (Frederiksen, 2015) involving qualitative interview data and quantitative test and assessment data. The study will apply the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), which is suitable to assess adult-child interactions (Pianta et al., 2008) as well as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), which is internationally recognized for its ability to measure children’s wellbeing (Goodman, 1997; Obel et al., 2003). Since the study is yet in its preliminary stages, it would be too early to present any findings at the time being. However, at this point indicators show that vulnerability is met with different approaches in different schools, and by different teachers. In my presentation I will discuss the different approaches to socially vulnerable children, and their potential impact on the children. The transition from kindergarten to first grade will also be discussed, and especially the opportunities to ease this difficult part for the socially vulnerable children. The overall approach to this study is the presumption that children who enjoy school attendance have an improved foundation for learning both academically and socially. The question is; how can we succeed in making the school an inspirational place for the children?
Superdiversity is challenging social work. The fast rise of Steven Vertovec’s concept of superdiversity (Vertovec 2007; Meisner & Vertovec 2014; Geldof, 2016) urges us to research the usefulness for social work of the concept, theoretically and empirically, and to explore its potential as a concept, or part of a theory on diversification, for social work. Should we try to guarantee human rights through or beyond the ethnic lens in a world of rising superdiversity? The lens of superdiversity can offer a new way for social work research to understand the dynamics in western societies, especially, in majority-minority cities (Crul, 2013). In an increasing number of cities in Europe and the US, the majority of the population has a migration-background. Second and third generation youngsters are inheriting the city (Kasinitz, Mollenkopf, Waters, & Holdway 2009). Superdiversity requires a multi-dimensional approach and might confront us with the need of a paradigmatic shift in the social work (research), beyond methodological nationalism (Beck, 2008), in order to understand the complex but fascinating dynamic interplay of different kinds of diversity, resulting in heterogeneity and complexity. Within this multi-dimensional approach, ethnicity and multilingualism remain relevant as markers amongst others to understand differences in position and chances in our societies, without essentialising ethnic background or cultural differences. The paper interrogates first the framework of superdiversity from a social work perspective. Superdiversity can help to understand demographic transitions, but also to stop culturalisation of social problems and essentialising cultures, religions and/or identities. However, the focus on diversity within diversity runs the risk of individualising. Furthermore, the power-dimension is lacking in most work on superdiversity. Processes of differentiation and construction of identities are not only the result of personal choices, but are also the result from processes of ascription and exclusion. Secondly the paper looks at the potential of combining the theory of superdiversity with a (renewed) vision on intersectionality. According to Boccagni (2014), the lens of superdiversity takes us beyond intersectionality. The paper questions this conclusion, and points out under what conditions the combination of superdiversity and intersectionality might offer a theoretical framework that is inspiring for social work in contemporary superdiverse majority-minority cities, in order to guarantee the human and social rights of all actual citizens. • Dirk Geldof is Lecturer ‘Diversity, Poverty and the City’ and ‘Migration’ in the Social Work Program at the Karel de Grote University College in Antwerp. He is also Lecturer in Sociology at the Faculty of Design Sciences at the University of Antwerp; as well as Lecturer and Researcher at the Higher Institute for Family Studies (Odisee University College Brussels). He recently published ‘Superdiversity in the heart of Europe. How migration changes our society’ (Acco, 2016) and is co-author of ‘Transmigration. Social work in times of superdiversity’ (Acco, 2016) • The paper is closely linked with the paper proposal ‘When migration becomes transmigration: New challenges to social professionals’ (Geldof, Schrooten & Withaeckx)
Within the social sciences, migration has traditionally been conceived of as a unidirectional, purposeful and intentional process from one state of fixity (in the place of origin) to another (in the destination). This sedentary lens is still omnipresent in the media as well as in policymaking, as the present refugee crisis in Europe illustrates, but also the debates on integration. Based on a qualitative social work research among social workers and transmigrants in Belgium, we draw attention to a group of people whose mobile practices do not fit this static view on migration. On the contrary, their experiences are marked by an ongoing mobility that consists of a multiplicity of potential routes, which are often unstable. This transmigration is a reality for migrants from outside the EU, but is closely linked with intra-EU-migration. These transmigrants are challenging European societies, because their (intra-EU) mobility makes their access to social and political rights problematic, as these still are bound to national affiliations. These transmigrants are challenging social workers to move towards a more dynamic understanding of present-day mobility. On the micro-level, transmigration prompts the involvement of transnational social networks and resources within individual accompaniment trajectories. On the meso-level, it asks for the development of new and unexpected forms of cooperation with formal and informal actors within and across national borders. Despite the emerging ‘transnational consciousness’ among individual social workers, the structural development of transnational practices in social work is still limited by the locally directed views of local and national policies (macro level), which as yet fail to acknowledge the reality of transmigration and the need to transcend national boundaries. The paper argues we need to develop forms of transnational social work in order to guarantee the social rights of these transmigrants within Europe. • The paper builds upon the book ‘Transmigration. Social work in times of superdiversity’ (Schrooten, Withaeckx, Geldof & Lavent, Acco, which will be published in June 2016) • The paper is closely linked with the paper proposal ‘Dirk Geldof, Superdiversity as a challenge for social work. Human rights through or beyond the ethnic lens?’
Although Europse is a ‘wealthy democracy’ where everybody should have guaranteerd basic human rights, the reality shows that there are still people being excluded and marginalised. The purpose of community development is to help create the conditions for a just, inclusive and sustainable society by supporting communities to engage in collective action for transformative change. In this contribution we build on the European framework for community development and elaborate on how community development practices in Flanders and Brussels are developped, engaging local communities and collaborating with people in vulnerable living situations towards structural societal and policy changes. The common framework on Community Development in Europe has been developed with the contribution of civil society organisations coming from 10 different European countries to establish a shared understanding of community development across Europe and seeks to underpin the intention, practice, tools and the outcomes expected of community devel¬opment in order to create the conditions for a just, inclusive and sustainable society by supporting communities to engage in collective action. It acknowledges community development as collective in analysis, means communities begin with their own analysis; actions are informed by collective decisions. While lots of very useful processes have individual outcomes the focus of community development interventions are collective outcomes which change the collective lives of the community or society as a whole. In order to put flesh on the bones of this framework, we will elaborate on the identity of community development in Flanders and Brussels, and the way community development programs are organised around the access to the Belgian constitutional social rights (such as housing, education, work, health, social services). We will present three examples of community development practices: Vegetables from Zellik The Flemish-Brabant Regional Institute for Community Development jointly sowed the seeds to bring about the allotment garden in Zellik. For community work, the time is ripe for handing the project over to the newly established collaboration between market gardeners, social organisations and municipal government. ‘Collectief Goed’ The prices of apartments and houses in Antwerp have doubled in the last ten years. Obviously, the purchasing power of families has not increased by the same amount. The most vulnerable families are forced to rent poor quality housing in the private rental market. Arm in Arm, the Belgian-Moroccan Society against poverty, wants to offer a solution to the Antwerp housing crisis using temporary social housing and the Collectief Goed project. An employment project with a sense of reality “The unemployed are weak, maladjusted slackers who take advantage of our social system.” Project Dream Job wants to rid the world of such prejudices. Dream Job, or “Droomjob” in Dutch, is a project that the West Flanders Regional Institute for Community Development launched in collaboration with a Society against poverty. The objective is to provide new opportunities for vulnerable people who have become far removed from the labour market. Lies Beunens, Riet Steel, Klaas Poppe, Steven Rommel Samenlevingsopbouw Vlaanderen, member of the European Community Development Network (EuCDN)
Getting it right for every child in Scotland? The Scottish Government has introduced a controversial policy affecting the lives of all children in Scotland. Key elements of this policy – Getting it right for every child - are now underpinned by legislation (Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014), which comes into force in August 2016. The 2014 Act provides for every child in Scotland to have a named person to act with legal authority on behalf of the child should ‘well-being’ concerns arise. The 2014 Act has generated significant controversy and human rights based legal challenge regarding the position of the named person whose role includes co-ordination of services and acting as a point of contact in connection to any and every child. The legislation has repercussions for health, education and social work services and the precise implications remain part of the debate. This paper critically considers the policy and the potential implications for child welfare-involved mothers who are likely to be significantly affected. The work of two philosophers, Giorgio Agamben (1995) and Judith Butler (2005), will be drawn upon to examine what this policy may represent for child protective services and child welfare-involved mothers. The underpinning control of the collective lives of individuals by the state in modern western societies (Agamben 1995) is foregrounded in considering the potential implications for a democratic and human-rights-based social work practice. References Agamben, G. (1995). Homo Sacer Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Butler, J. (2005) Giving an Account of Oneself. Fordham University Press, New York.
Today, citizen participation is a central concern in urban renewal programmes for so-called disadvantaged neighbourhoods. As socio-cultural workers are believed to be experts in working in these neighbourhoods, they are increasingly solicited by local governments to set up participatory initiatives that can connect (policy) rationality to perception, and bridge the ‘democratic gap’ between the authorities and administration on the one hand and the deprived and ‘very hard to reach’ citizens living in these areas on the other hand. However, critics suggest that the claims made for these initiatives conceal far more than they reveal; questions are raised on who is participating, where, when, at what level and what for. Starting from these questions, we discuss, from a historical point of view, the role of socio-cultural workers and participatory projects within urban development in Flandres/Belgium. In our analysis, we expose the continuous struggle between ‘pacification’ and ‘politicisation’, and we stress the need for academic research as a key dimension in re-politicising socio-cultural work. First, we go back to the nineteenth century, a moment when the elites started worrying about the grinding living and working conditions of labourers within the cities. Next to the conservative idea of ‘spreading culture’ and the liberal notion of ‘cultural emancipation’, both orientated towards the consolidation of the existing order, socio-cultural work also emerged as a lever in the struggle for universal suffrage. By the turn of the nineteenth century, every ideology had created its respective ‘socio-cultural infrastructure’ that generated a sense of collective interest and purpose, but also confirmed the image of ‘participation in the activities offered’ as an evident societal norm. After the second world war, socio-cultural workers came to play a vital role in establishing a social welfare state. Apart from the focus on participation in socio-cultural work as an important goal in itself, more thematic movements and professional interventions such as community work tried to re-invent the political aspirations of socio-cultural work by adopting the idea of ‘lifelong learning’ as a ‘right to participation’ in a democratic society. Yet, the economic crises and the thorough rationalizations in the 1970s and 1980s reduced this striving to a matter of integration and employability. The concept of ‘participation’ changed accordingly: it became (like before) a means to pacify and preserve the present power relations. With the new millennium, the plurality, fragmentation and co-existence of lifestyles, identities and new mechanisms of exclusion and polarisation on both the global and the local level, once more challenge socio-cultural workers to redefine their political agenda. Innovative practices, often expressed in temporary projects, search to develop new frames of reference. Nevertheless, a language to capture these ventures is largely lacking; participation thus again runs the risk of being re-depoliticised and re-emphasised as a societal norm. In our conclusion, we argue that academic research on/in socio-cultural work and participatory practices can help to explicate the necessary theoretical background that captures and radicalises the connection between socio-cultural work and democratic practices.
The paper concerns on functions of social work from the prospective of the current socio-political and economical changes in Poland. The positive aspects of transformation from the centrally managed system to democracy established, as a key issue in creating of the new social policy and the new model of welfare State in Poland since 1990, influenced improvement of economy and the life quality of many Polish citizens. Friendly legislation allowed for the development of many social institutions supporting vulnerable groups of clients. However some of Polish citizens experienced also negative processes such as unemployment, poverty and kinds of abuse or relative feelings of socio-economical deprivation. The critical discourse of the hopelessness in solving socio-economical problems of neo-liberal system, brought the acceptance for the new Polish government, which promises the better life for those who have felt excluded. This situation has resulted the new functions of social work and new challenges and approaches to practice e.g. with families, the elderly, the young employed, migrants, refuges. The paper focuses on these challenges and functions of social work. It is no doubt that the newest social and political change (in Poland and in Europe) demands from social work more involvement in the political issues, looking for the new identity and more effective practice.
Purpose: Alcohol use has become a major health concern for Taiwanese indigenous communities. Previous research indicates that historical trauma is one of several alcohol use determinants among Taiwanese indigenous communities. Historical trauma framework underscores that contemporary indigenous health behaviors and outcomes are long reaching effects of historically traumatic events due to colonial oppression. Since the existing historical trauma research in Taiwan is qualitative and conceptual in nature, there is a need to assess the connection between historical trauma and alcohol use among indigenous communities. Making this empirical linkage requires the development of a historical trauma measure relevant to Taiwanese indigenous communities. This study describes the establishment of Historical Trauma Experiences (HTE) and demonstrates an association of HTE with alcohol use. Method: Item development of HTE is informed by the following sources: (1) existential concepts and literature review of historical trauma; (2) findings of previous qualitative interview project conducted in 2013 to explore Taiwanese indigenous people’s perspectives regarding historical traumatic events and its influences on alcohol use. Once item development was completed, the scale was provided to both academic and cultural experts to assess face and content validity of the initial thirteen items, which was reduced to ten based on their feedback. Next, data were collected in 2015 using a quantitative survey with a convenience sample of 245 indigenous tribal members (20- 83 years) who live in a rural locale in the East Taiwan. The survey includes the HTE, alcohol use and demographic questionnaire. The HTE measures the inter-generational experiences of significant historical traumatic events for Taiwanese indigenous communities. Alcohol use is measured by Chinese version of Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (10 items, α= .91). Statistical tests included reliability analyses (Cronbach’s alpha), exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) and correlational analyses to examine the factor structure and construct and predictive validations of the newly developed HTE. Findings:EFA results indicate a three-factor solution for the HTE. However, CFA findings reveal that a two-factor model fits the data well based on selected model fit indices (X2 = 33.97(df=23), p= .66; RMSEA=.047). The final model contains two subscales with seven items (α= .74). The two subcomponents of HTE include: (1) disruption of land and family attachment, and (2) cultural and educational assimilation. Both subscales of HTE are significantly associated with alcohol use disorder. The disruption of land and family attachment is positively associated with alcohol use (z= 2.66, p<.01). The cultural and educational assimilation is negatively associated with alcohol use disorder (z= -2.96, p<.01). HTE demonstrated preliminary evidence of construct and predictive validity. Conclusions:This study provides preliminary evidence for adequate psychometric properties of the HTE scale. Findings support historical trauma framework and demonstrate that historical trauma experiences are one of major determinants of alcohol use among indigenous communities in Taiwan. Future intervention and prevention for alcohol use among indigenous peoples should explore how to address and heal from the disruption of land and family attachment, since it is a significant determinant of alcohol use disorders among Taiwanese indigenous communities.
Democracy as a freedom of choice is meaningful with the consideration of the basic structure of choice: every choice elderly individual or her(his) caregiver(-s) is always making from a limited number of options. And these choices are limited by wealth, social capital and life scenario – and most of all actual today, by the location or placement. In addition the individual elderly and her(his) family cannot demand of society to be treated as equal to every other(-s) with regards to public expenditures on her/his needs. Since 2000 in the framework of modernization of social services the concept of co-payment in public institutions has actively introduced in the academic and public discourses. I will present qualitative research of paid services for the elderly in Kazan introduced in 2006. Along with the official documents of constructing ideal type "they should be like," we studied interviews with family members who care for seriously ill relatives. A regional feature of Tatarstan Republic is the fact that care is represented as a discrete unit of paid services that can be formalized and defined in a monetary form. Units of care can be summed up into sets according to customer’s requirements, as well as to include them in the cost-benefit analysis. In addition to assessing of care units in terms of demand it is possible to provide emotional and subjective evaluation of this new form of institutional care by consumers themselves. Another feature is the wide spread of autonomous institutions, which are often transformed from the governmental centers. How the formation of new institutions has affected the usage of paid services by middle-class families? The main case allows us to reconstruct the process of transformation from the rejection of any "vicarious" Care to the self- management of the range of services by care-receiver herself over five years. Distribution of the modernization of social services has led to the ability of consumers to distinguish between public and private care producers, but often autonomous institutions are perceived as commercial. However, emotional care cannot be under instrumental incarnation and implementation, and it remains an obligation for the relatives. According to interviews in two dozen middle class families there is no clear preference for the specific legal form of care producer. However, the majority uses governmental organizations, practicing extra fees to the basic free package. This compliance with governmental social care services under conditions of real choice between different options is useful for future implications of analysis of using democracy basic practices in practical social work.
The essence of social work is the intervention and the communication between organization or social workers and their clients. Often face to face but increasingly online also. A growing range of online tools is being developed, such as informative websites, professional communication tools (chat, e-mail or video), supporting apps and tools (self tests, online diaries, serious games, ...). It is striking that many of these online applications only work on the condition that the end users – both the clients and the social workers – were involved in the development or implementation of the online tool.. In this paper the involvement of the end users in the development of an online help tool is illustrated by two projects. Project 1: The development of an online diary that is customized to the phase of the process, to the capacities of the key players (client, context or social worker), and to the vision on help and care. Project 2: The exploration of online help possibilities for prisoners. Project 1 on online diaries. There are many (free or paying) online diary tools. But the possibilities of these websites or apps can remain unused in social work because the tools were not in line with the expectations of the client or were not in line with the vision of the social worker or the social work organization. In contrast, more than 200 social workers, 600 clients and 45 organizations were involved in the development of the online diary www.online-dagboek.be. Project 2 on online help for prisoners. In Belgian prisons, prisoners have gradually been allowed to have a personal computer in their cell. In the context of the integration in an increasingly digitalized society, prisons have to respond and expand their social work for prisoners with online possibilities. In this project, 21 social workers and 88 prisoners formulated a requirements list of online help possibilities on work, welfare, health, culture, education and sport.
What to do if a social worker does not do his/her work properly? When help becomes control and relationship becomes abuse, who will protect people’s dignity and the reliability of the profession? The aim of my Doctoral research is to study the Italian reporting system of social workers’ ethical code violations. The importance of ethics for social workers, stated by the Global Definition of social work as well, has practical results in the implementation of an efficient and right system of control and penalties for those who do not respect the ethical code, as a device to balance social workers’ power over clients. In Italy, the new national reporting system, implemented in 2014, differs from region to region according to the guidelines defined by the local professional ethics committee, thus creating significant procedural differences all over the country. In my research I will collect information on the totality of complaints received by the regional associations since the new system has come into force. With the use of specific software for text based data analysis (such as NVivo), I will trace an overall idea of who are the complainants, which parts of the ethical code have supposedly been violated, how much time it needs for the complaint to be examined by the local committee. I will also interview some key informants in order to discover their view on the main features of the social phenomenon “social workers’ violations of ethical code”: its points of strength and weakness, the path to its implementation and its main controversial aspects. Presidents and members of ethics committee, users who had submitted complaints and professionals who have been reported may provide a wide range of insights on the topic. The third part of my research focuses on regional procedures to report violations. I will investigate whether processes have any impact on the number or outcomes of the complaints. The comparison to other countries’ way of dealing with this topic will be useful as well. I expect my research to provide information about a largely unknown formal device – the ethics complaints – which can be considered as an important way to protect clients and social workers’ professionalism, as well as to balance power between social workers and users. The national association of social worker acknowledged the need for a monitoring activity as an important aspect. It aims at making the device work in the whole country and enabling continuous reflexivity both on theoretical and practical vulnerability of the profession emerging from the complaints.
In contemporary civil societies social work is no longer the exclusive prerogative of social work professionals. Active citizens, their networks, associations, social entrepreneurs, corporations and professionals with a different background take up professional social work responsibilities as well. In this complex field of multistakeholder involvement, conflicting interests and dynamic processes of self organization, social work professionals tend to operate more and more as social brokers; they are no longer indispensible by virtue of the help they offer to citizens in need or empowerment, but they are indispensible because of their ability to activate supportive networks and connect the needs of citizens in vulnerable circumstances to the supportive opportunities of others. Simultaneously, they mediate between the needs of citizens and the bureaucratic demands of (local) government institutions. As streetlevel bureaucrats social work professionals pick up coordinating responsibilities where government withdrawal from welfare state arrangements becomes problematic. Is this shift from social service to social broker professionalism an appropriate answer to transitions in our welfare states? On basis of local research findings in Dutch cities we try to answer this question from the perspectives of (networks of) citizens, social professionals and local government professionals. By clarifying the changing perspectives and interrelationships between governments, citizens en professional organizations in the field of social work we want to explore the new conditions for meaningful dialogue between these actors.
A real challenge for modern Ukraine is the need to enlarge, strengthen and empower a civil society, necessary to build the trust, public self-confidence and enable participatory governance. Social work with its human rights, empowerment and democratic values background has the professional duty to contribute to this process. At the same time Social Work in Ukraine inherited the strongly centralized “Social Protection System” with the “soviet” approaches based on strong paternalistic traditions, centralization and state dependency. Community level of social work, participatory practices is underdeveloped in Ukraine. The research findings of Naydionova (2012) demonstrate that social work students in Ukraine do not percept community as a field of their future practice since they have stereotype of the “working place” inside a social service organization. Lack of knowledge about community, its structure, social interactions and mechanisms as well as methods of work is another obstacle to act as a social worker at the community level . According to our recent research (Danylchenko, Syla, 2015) the social workers employed by the state social services are not centred on community. 20% of those with high level of the sense of community combine the contradictory characteristics: the gravity to poverty with its “studied life helplessness” on the one hand and the positive perception of innovation, willingness to take risks for success achieving and creativity - on the other. We suppose this could reflect the gradual changes in professional self-perceptions of social workers as well as the opportunities disclosed in the modern Ukrainian community for civil society building . The important resource for community building in Ukraine is the non-governmental (civil society) sector. It is being financed by international funds and organizations mostly. For example British Council Programme “Active Citizens” works through the network of NGOs and facilitates local leaders to develop and implement social action projects in their communities. These grassroots initiatives constitute the foundation and promote the civil relationships. Social workers are not engaged into community development processes. As well as community development is not considered as linked to social work. However the experience of Active Citizens programme facilitating showed the opportunities for dealing with a great number of social problems in the community. The Social workers’ reflections on being involved into the civil education process in the community together with social action projects implementing will be presented. The model of professional social work in Ukraine requires rethinking in view of civil society challenges. 1. Naydionova L. Reflexive Psychology of the Territorial Communities. - Kyiv: Millenium, 2012. – 280 p. (in Ukrainian). 2. Danilchenko T., Syla T. Social Wellbeing: between the Family and Society or Tabula Rasa of the Ukrainian Community // Bulletin of the Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv National Pedagogical University. - Chernihiv: CHNPU , 2015. - Vol. 128 (Series "Psychological Science").- p.85-90. (in Ukrainian)
Disciplinary debates about the restructuring of the social state with its effects on social work and social care in Germany have continuously been held on a high level over more than the last two decades. This restructuring process, often referred to as the 'economization' of social work, is characterized by an increasing implementation of capitalist, economic and competitive criteria in social welfare production and has a major impact on health and social services. This ‘economized’ restructuring process was accompanied by a change of the understanding of the subsidiarity principle, which can be considered as the main socio-ethical and socio-political fundament of the German social state. It can be described briefly as a co-operative partnership between the statutory and the non-statutory sector with a certain priority of non-statutory agencies in the provision of facilities, services and activities. Furthermore, non-statutory actors were seen as pluralistic, highly relevant actors and interests groups participating in processes concerning policies of welfare production – based on each different value bases and normative-political orientations. During the restructuring of the German social state since the 1990´s, the idea of a pluralistic and heterogeneous landscape of non-statutory social services was revisited. From the critics point of view, the formerly co-operative partnership between the statutory and the non-statutory sector is now being described as a purchaser-provider-split. Prominent debates concerning the ‘economisation process’ of social welfare production in Germany have stated a loss of value-based plurality in content, methods and ways of working, as well as a loss of relevance of non-statutory agencies in their function as socio-political interest groups – in favour of the ‘all-embracing’ value of efficiency- and effectiveness-orientated competition between non-statutory actors. Plurality in this revisited understanding can be seen as a sign of functioning competition in governmental control, but not anymore as the result of normative political orientations and debates. This paper focuses on the changing role of traditional non-statutory welfare organisations as still highly relevant socio-political actors in a restructured social state. Questions concerning the existence of different value-bases and normative-political orientations are being discussed as well as changing possibilities of socio-political participation, intervention and possibilities of ‘social innovations’ in the non-statutory sector on a local level.
Participation in organised youth activities is believed to bring substantial (developmental) benefits for young people, such as stimulating initiative and civic engagement, preventing school dropout and unemployment. As it is believed that non-participants miss out on important developmental opportunities, attempts are made to guide non-participating youngsters to the ‘ideal’ organised leisure time. One of these ‘guidance’ strategies is placing pressure on parents: parents are expected to actively support their children to participate in the ‘good’ organised leisure time activities. However, little is yet known about parents’ own perspectives of their children’s leisure time activities and of their own role in their children’s leisure spending. Therefore the central research question of the presented PhD is what are the parents’ perceptions of their children’s leisure time spending and of the parents’ role in their children’s leisure time spending? In my PhD research, I address the following sub-questions: How are the parents’ perceptions of their children’s leisure time spending and of the parents’ role in it, associated with socio-demographic characteristics? (study 1); What is the current meaning of the divide between organised and unorganised leisure time activities in leisure time research? (study 2); Which meaning do parents attach to their children’s leisure time spending and to their own role in it? (study 3). In this presentation I will present these three studies as well as some preliminary findings. My first (quantitative) study reveals that different parents have different perceptions of their children’s leisure time spending, especially according to social-class background: the study indicates that middle class parents are more encouraging than lower class parents. Therefore, the study shows that the emphasis on the ‘ideal’ organised leisure time spending and on the ‘good’ supportive and encouraging parent are middle-class ideals. The literature review illustrates that the ‘idealisation’ of the organised leisure time is the result of an institutional, individual and instrumental approach to young people’s leisure time spending, as it is assumed that organised leisure time participation contributes to the qualification of young people or to the preparation of students and workforce. As Biesta’s goal domains (2009; 2011; 2015) indicate that leisure time activities do not only have to qualify young people, but also have to work on socialisation and subjectification ‘goals’, also the unorganised leisure time becomes important as it provides opportunities to work on young people’s socialisation and subjectification processes. As this literature review reveals that further qualitative research must start from the actual leisure time activities of young people and how these activities relate to these three goal domains, the third study will explore the meanings parents attach to their children’s actual leisure time spending (and to their own role in it). As my first study showed that the living conditions of parents strongly influence their perceptions (see differences between middle and lower class parents), this study is set up as a qualitative case study in which attention will be paid to contextual influences.
In the last two years, a few initiatives have been undertaken in Albania with the purpose of bringing evidence and policymaking closer to one another. Such initiatives are not only expected to result into better policies, but also to enhance government accountability and responsiveness. The discussion of evidence will create an open space where government officials and social scientists interact. Evidence will be used as a tool to hold government officials accountable, challenge discriminatory attitudes and beliefs, and promote social justice. However, the extent to which such expectations will be met in a context characterized by low levels of government transparency and responsiveness are open to question. This presentation will focus on the experience of supporting government officials to produce and use evidence in Albania. Two case studies, which focus on social welfare policies, will be presented. The analysis will shed light on how government officials perceive evidence, their involvement in the process of producing evidence, and their actions and reactions toward evidence. Some considerations for social work researchers and practitioners, in particular their role in using evidence to promote democratic practices of policymaking, will be discussed.
Equal worth, respect and acknowledgement are central values, both in a democracy, and in professional social work practice. Research has shown that adults in need of public services have experienced numerous affronts when interacting with public social workers (Høilund and Juul 2005). This may contribute to a weakening of trust in social workers. How do children who receive Child Welfare Services experience respect, acknowledgment and equal worth in their dealings with public actors? In the Norwegian research project: “Samhandling om og med children at risk” (Interaction about and with children at risk), we have interviewed children aged 9-17 about their experiences of collaboration with public actors in the Child Welfare Services, schools and health centres. We have and applied narrative analysis. In this session we will present two narratives that exemplify children’s experiences with good and bad collaboration. Preliminary findings show that there are multiple challenges connected to children’s interactions with social workers. In the narrative exemplifying good collaboration, Sofie appreciated an attitude in the professionals that would normally be considered personal and informal. This stands in contrast to the Nordic ideal of professional distance in formal relations, as well as the academic discourse on the division between private, personal and professional. In the narrative exemplifying bad collaboration, Tylor expresses having lost the battle for acknowledgement, placing him in a position of inferiority. This experience challenges the conception of equal worth in collaborative relationships between children and adults. Can children and adults participate as equals in professional relations despite their differences (the adults of legal age and children legally incompetent and the levels of knowledge and competence are different)? These professionals put social politics centre stage through the execution of their roles. Presently, the social workers’ execution of said roles takes place partly in a bureaucratic context. Points for plenum discussions: Is it possible within a public context to practice respect, acknowledgement and equal worth in collaboration with children at risk? In which case, how can this respect, acknowledgement and equal worth be realised in social work with children?
My PhD project is part of a research project at the School of Social Work at Lund University, Sweden, studying the phenomenon of profiled nursing homes (residential care facilities formally named “special housing”) in a Swedish context. This abstract outlines my dissertation's overall theme as identity work within profiled eldercare. During the last decade, a trend is emerging within the Swedish eldercare. Both for-profit and municipal care providers offer profiled nursing homes, e.g. nursing homes based on interests and lifestyles (such as sports, culture or gardening), ethnicity or hotel concepts. The growing number of profiled nursing homes are in line with the marketization of eldercare and its central notion of freedom of choice, as well as policy makers’ emphasis on older persons’ rights to personalized care and self-determination. Both previous research and state authorities have voiced concerns about the risk of identity loss when old people, due to need of extensive care, move to a nursing home. In response to this assumed risk, profiled nursing homes might be seen as an ambition to maintain the individual's identity by enabling continuity in exercising lifestyle and interests. Profiled nursing homes thereby allow elders to be not only care recipients, but also, and perhaps first and foremost, to be who they "always have been" (as a person interested in culture, sports, gardening etcetera). Profiled nursing homes may also enable residents to choose and deepen a particular identity or develop new lifestyles. My research interests concern several aspects of identity work within profiled eldercare: I will devote attention to the ways that profiles affect the role as resident and staff in nursing homes, for instance through the development of shared collective identities based on ethnicity or common interests, or in cases where residents are regarded as guests at hotels while staff potentially have a maintenance role. I will also focus on tensions relating to class – the risk that freedom of choice and personalized care entail eldercare that reproduces inequalities based on particular lifestyles. Residents in Swedish nursing homes are frail and suffer from multiple diseases. Thus, realizing "profiled" activities in everyday life might seem challenging. In my research I will examine the risk that profiled care might conceal and deny some of the difficult realities inherent in nursing home care by focusing on and communicating an image of the residents as "who they always have been" as opposed to "people in need of extensive care". By using qualitative methods I will examine how identity work is performed and displayed in profiled eldercare. Data will be collected through interviews with managers and staff and by observing everyday life in the nursing homes. Data will also be collected from nursing homes' blogs and other social media.
Essentially, social work is about human rights, as mentioned in the international definition of social work: “Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing” (www.IFSW.org, 2014) This definition is embedded in international law where human rights and basic social rights are linked with human dignity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is clear: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” (art 1). As regards to social rights, the Declaration is more specific: “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.” (art 22) These principles have been laid down in international law as for example the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950). In present times, however, the operationalization of human dignity as a basic social right seems to be under pressure. Some scholars link this with a degradation of the social welfare state caused by a predominance of neo-liberalism (e.g. Larner, 2000). Others point to the depreciation of social welfare arrangements caused by for instance bureaucratization (e.g. Cox, 1998), while again other scholars seem to consider this changes as a mere re-orientation and adaptation of the welfare state (e.g. Deleeck, 2001). In any case, this evolution has an impact on the role and position of social work in its task to guarantee the right to human dignity. In order to take stock of the evolutions and the effects on social work we look at the case-study of Belgium that has the right to human dignity enshrined in the Constitution (art 23). The operationalization of this basic right is realized through the installation of subjective rights of which the most important social right is laid down in the law installing Public Social Welfare Centers (PSWC) : “Everyone has the right to social services in order to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to live a life in human dignity”. (art 1) In the study we explore the discourses that underpin these social services and the way this interrelates with a rights-based discourse. The focus is put on the way social work (in casu within the local institutions (PSCW)) takes shape against the background of supra-local legislation (coming from the Federal and Flemish government) and regulation.
Pre-birth child protection processes are concerned with a client who is not yet here. Or who is here and yet not here – an unborn baby. It asks of parents that they participate in processes designed to safeguard the well-being of their child, whom they are yet to meet and whose individual vulnerabilities cannot yet be known. Social workers are given the challenging task of assessing the risks and needs of the same child, working alongside parents in order to do so. My paper draws on year-long ethnographic fieldwork exploring pre-birth child protection in the Scottish context, including observations of a range of social work meetings, interviews with expectant parents, and with social work practitioners. Limited research has been carried out into pre-birth child protection work, despite the growing nature of the practice in Scotland and the acceptance by U.K. child protection agencies and professionals that their responsibility to protect children extends to unborn babies in the womb. Legally the foetus has no independent rights in utero but within the administrative system of child protection very significant decisions can still be made about his or her future prior to birth. My study takes as its starting point that pre-birth child protection deserves both our research attention and theoretical exploration. During pre-birth child protection processes there is an inevitable sense of uncertainty and an extended wait for a final decision on whether the baby is to go home with parents or not. In this way, the pregnancy becomes defined not just by the timescales of weeks and months that have become normative under the medical model of pregnancy but by the ‘institutional time’ (Lewis & Weigart, 1981) of the pre-birth child protection process. During this period, professionals are looking ahead, to a future time when the baby has been born and child protection activities may take place. ‘What you’re kind of focusing on is when the baby’s born, do you know you’re thinking ahead in a way’ (Extract from Interview with Case Conference Chair Person). In child protection work, timescales may also be driven by professional fears of not ‘protecting children in time’ (Ferguson, 2004). This is perhaps especially so in social work with infants. As in recent years children and families social work practice has been informed by interpretations of neuroscience that prioritise the first three years of life as critical for future development. Creating, ‘a now-or-never imperative to intervene before irreparable damage is done to the developing infant brain’ (Wastell & White 2012: 397), which arguably creates a risk that ‘in a rush to do something before it is too late, the integrity and rights of the individual may take second place’ (Fahlgren, 2009: 218). Within this paper I will explore the role of time in pre-birth child protection activities, and how time is experienced by social work professionals and by families as they await the arrival of the unborn baby at the centre of these processes.
Human Rights Perspective of Social Services in Albania Prof. Dr. Edlira Haxhiymeri firstname.lastname@example.org Prof. Dr. Nikoleta Mita email@example.com Dr. Marina Ndrio firstname.lastname@example.org University of Tirana Faculty of Social Sciences The system of social services in Albania was totally transformed compared to the system that functioned during the communist time. Besides State, various groups of civil society, strategic partners, donors and international organizations play an important role in providing social services. Several strategies and a set of standards for social services were prepared during the last two decades. The Government of Albania that entered office in 2013 has recently prepared a New Strategy for Social Services. At the same time some of the main operators in the field of social services have faced critical issues in respect to human rights in social service provision. The authors of this presentation are aware of the gap that exists between the human rights perspective on paper and the violation of human rights in practice. Believing that academic research in the field of social work and human rights is a key element for ensuring knowledge of and respect for human rights in social work practice, we have undertaken an investigation focused on human rights perspective of social services in Albania. The aim of this paper is: a) to analyse the human rights perspective in designing and providing social services; b) to analyse the impact of decentralization and privatization of social services in respect to human rights; c) to present evidence of achievements and challenges in the public and non public services in Albania in respect to human rights. This paper is not intended to be a comprehensive one on the overall subject of the system of social services in Albania, but rather a review of human rights perspective in services related to vulnerable groups, mainly children and women. The method for analyzing the information will be content analysis. This paper is prepared based on documentation analysis (National Strategy for Social Services 2016-2020, national reports on social services, legislation on social services, Albanian Helsinki Committee reports on social services), interviewing and practical experience reflection. On the other side, ten key actors in Albania are interviewed for the purpose of this research: two officials of the Ministry of Wellbeing and Youth, three representatives of local government structures, two representatives of child care public agencies and three representatives of social services providers from NGO sector. The purpose of interviews was to gather information that is not publicly available and to generate insights on the issue of social service provision in the perspective of human rights. It is a belief that the conclusions of this research will be a contribution to reshaping the role of all actors, increasing the role of the civil society and private providers of social services and improving the quality of social services in Albania in respect of human rights. Key words: human rights, social services, public and non public providers of social services.
The paper explores the changing religious identifications and sensibilities of Muslims and the civic projects of Muslim civil society organizations in the city of Brussels. Through migration, globalization and mass media technology, the relationship of Islam, ethnicity and territory has become more complex. Social spaces of Muslims constitute diverse social, political and religious networks. Through migration, social media and other new information technology, diverse networks bring together ideas, places and people from all over the world. Belgium Muslims identify with issues that go beyond the national spatial space, resulting in enormous national and local effects of transnational developments. Since the upheavals in the Middle East dating from 2011, the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, the Paris and Brussels attacks, ideological differences have become more visible, sharper and played out. Muslim civil society organizations in Brussels take these global dynamics to develop local activities, lectures, workshop and formation sessions to support their members in developing nuanced sensibilities and more layered identities to co-create a society based on more social cohesion and inclusivity.
This presentation explores how sociologists Espeland & Stevens’ (2008) conceptualization ”numbers that commensurate” can be used to analyse the foundation and construction of modern governance tools such as; national statistical databases for performance measurements, quality management systems and result based management programs, within the social services. My PhD-project in social work deals with measurements and statistics as a source for knowledge and governance of social work activities. Social workers are currently experiencing the measuring and ranking of the quality of their work according to national indicators, evaluations based on a conviction that only measurements provide evidence about social problems and interventions. A request, typical for our time, is the one for better knowledge about the actual effects of the services delivered by the social workers. Several initiatives from influential Swedish authorities (such as the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions) include the engagement of social services in the measuring and comparing of effects. As a participant observer, I have shadowed a management team of a child- and welfare unit during a year when they, encouraged by the participation in a state-sponsored management course, were engaged in the adaptation of national indicators. The ethnographic data identified a paradox with the status of the numbers as “truth speakers” on the one hand, and reluctance and confusions when applied to practice on the other, along with different kinds of implications for social work. Situations played out where misunderstandings of numbers lead to conflicts, where statistics were being manipulated, where problem areas were given lower priority because of immeasurableness and where the need to show satisfying statistics changed the content of the work. Situations when figures became important ammunition for the management in their battle for more resources and influence where also identified. In their article “A sociology of Quantification” (2008) Espeland & Stevens suggest that the researcher directs attention to the five dimensions work (work, tasks, engagement and coordination related to quantification), reactivity (measurements’ influence on the measured phenomenon as well as the perceptions of it), discipline (a special type of reactivity, the disciplining of practice), authority (measurements’ evidence status and claim for reflecting the truth) and aesthetics (quantitative representations and pictures of the world), in order to illuminate the socially transformative potential of quantification. At the conference I wish to discuss how this framework can guide me in further exploration of the identified paradox. The paper will serve as preparations for continued fieldwork at a social service office in fall 2016.
Social workers as professionals and their careers are shaped in time bounded contexts. Time and space are, as shown by Durkheim through the division of labour and Weber through bureaucratization, central aspects of both profession and career as concepts. From a general Swedish work life perspective, the work force has in recent years shown an increasing individualization on a competitive labour market. Work life is more heterogeneous with differences between sectors, workplaces and individuals, which also apply to social workers. Differentiation and stratification provides reasons for mobility within the profession, but ‘socionom’-careers has in some matters been depicted as a problem in the public debate. Is the ‘socionom’-profession located in a field of tensions in which professionals' views on their own careers collide with ideologies that affect the profession or the human service organizations in which professional practice is performed? A borrowed definition of ‘career’ in a work life context gives the following meaning: “the evolving sequence of a person´s work experiences over time”. Careers of ‘socionomer’ are central aspects of social work as a collective professionalization project in the Swedish welfare state. By linking the institution to individuals through the lens provided by careers it is possible to illuminate the role that individuals play in institutional processes and how institutional properties and processes shape individual actions. By doing so, career is in this study not simply seen as the victim of structural forces but also as a driving force within the profession. The aim of this research project is to describe and explain ‘socionomers’ career patterns on the basis of those career-related sequences that entering current work have meant by the time of the study in 2014. The study focuses on ‘socionomer’ who holds a degree from Swedish universities in three different periods of the education´s development, and have passed the early professional life, are in mid-career or in the end of the career and professional life. The research question: Which factors affect the careers among social workers at the individual level, the inter-individual level and the organizational level and how do these three levels interact in social workers careers? By studying a sequence of professional careers, career as well as profession is viewed as both property and process. A questionnaire was sent to 2 462 social workers who graduated in 1987, 1997 and 2007 at respectively 4, 4 and 8 universities in Sweden. The questionnaire was answered by 1 416 persons (response rate of 58 per cent). When the great proliferation of social workers' job titles and the profession's dependence upon organizations for professional practice are considered, and related to the profession's lack of monopoly on job titles and jurisdiction, interesting questions emerge that I want to discuss: Do social workers make careers at all as social workers? How can discretion and autonomy be seen as dimensions of social workers' careers?
There is a wealth of evidence indicating that while public health and welfare in the Finnish population have generally been improved, socio-economic health and wellbeing inequalities have not been diminished even this has been a priority of the Finnish governments over the last 20 years. The Finnish Academy funded PROMEQ project aims to develop evidence-based and cost-effective models of health and wellbeing promotion (HWP) that that are able to talk to and assimilate the more vulnerable groups motivating and empowering positive transfers in their health and wellbeing. Health and wellbeing inequities are considered as resulting from complex interplays between individual, cultural and societal factors, taking expressions as deficits in physical, cognitive, mental, social, environmental and material resources of quality of life. A holistic and systematic approach to the Health and Wellbeing Promotion meets these deficits and aims at improving people’s own resources and capabilities for positive transfers. We use Social Marketing efforts in participatory manner as we engage the target groups in co-design of the messages and actions to be taken, and combine tailored support from social and health care in the interventions, and investigate whether positive changes occur. Social marketing is essentially ”selling” ideas and messages that are tailored to the segmented audiences so as to “talk” to them, i.e. understanding and motivating change. Digital media and the Internet have been used extensively to deliver on-line social marketing interventions. The method has been widely used internationally, specifically in health promotion, but also in addressing broader social issues, and in promotion of attitudinal and behavior change with health and social care professionals and providers. There is extensive evidence on its effectiveness, but the method has also been criticized for not being able to reach the population groups with most needs, and for the lack of sufficient attention to issues of health equity. Social Marketing methodology and frameworks have been used extensively in United Nations programs, and employed in many funded European Commission research studies (CORDIS). In the USA, social marketing is advocated as a core public health strategy for influencing voluntary lifestyle behaviors. The potential of social marketing was recognized in the UK White Paper on Public Health, and the National Social Marketing Strategy for Health. In Finland, the method has been applied in a health promotion program in the Karelia region. There are international examples of its application in addressing a very broad range of social issues. These involve e.g. reducing prison numbers in UK, racism in Canada, and domestic violence and mental illness in Australia. Recent emphasis has been given to the application of social marketing to tackle child abuse. This paper aims at the questions of democracy in applying social marketing: is social marketing a form of deliberative democracy?
Social exclusion is a widely used concept in research and discourse in Europe and other countries around the world for almost four decades. Nevertheless, it is a much-contested term that has multiple meanings and is often used to describe myriad phenomena. Although there are different definitions of social exclusion, it is generally referred to as a multidimensional, chronic process resulting in a condition wherein specific groups are marginalized and detached from society. Over time, policy narratives, historical and cultural contexts have shaped the way it is researched, measured and publicly addressed. However, it has been noted that the term itself might be labeling and that without including those who face exclusion in the definition and debate regarding its nature, even well intended solutions run the risk of becoming exclusionary. This research examines how people involved in processes of exclusion construct their situation, and in what way these constructions relate to exclusion theories as well as social and political discourse. It attempts to answer both the call to include marginalized groups in the debate about social exclusion and, to promote a clearer understanding of social exclusion in the current Israeli context. The study is conducted in the context of the "University of Haifa Flagship Program", an academy-community partnership designed to confront social exclusion and promote solidarity. Qualitative data was collected by means of 30 in-depth interviews, 5 focus groups, and numerous participant observations during 2012-2015. Participants in the study come from three groups of stakeholders in the partnership: community activists, local professionals and University faculty, all working together in the western neighborhoods of the city of Haifa in northern Israel. Once an industrial city off the coastline, today Haifa is a modern metropolis facing the challenges of a post-industrial urban space in a multi-cultural environment. Jews that emigrated from many countries, living closely together with Arab Muslims and Christians as well as other minorities comprise the city's diverse population. Thus creating a rich fabric, but at the same time, one that poses great challenges to and inclusion. Preliminary research findings present dismal manifestations of social exclusion in what locals dub 'transparent spaces' in the city. Analysis reveals five policy mechanisms that encourage exclusion in these neighborhoods, and identify personal and community coping strategies used by community activists and local professionals dealing with consequences of social and spatial detachment. Lastly, initial findings suggest various stakeholders differ widely in their views and experiences of the role of academy in confronting social exclusion. This study is currently in process, as part of PhD research instructed by Dr. Roni Strier in the School of SW, Faculty of Welfare & Health Sciences, University of Haifa.
Social workers are rarely envisaged in the roles of leaders, as traditionally, leadership roles are linked with power, persuasion, even domination. Nevertheless, newer leadership theories (i.e. on authentic leadership, transformational leadership) suggest that effective leadership is about meeting the needs of others, attention to group processes, nurturing hopes and aspiration and inspiring people to positive action (Northouse 2016). Ethical leadership being founded in values such as respect, service, justice, honesty and community building (f.e. Greenleaf 1977; Beauchamp and Bowie 1988; Rost 1991; Ciulla 2003, Johnson 2011) makes it easier to recognize that social workers’ roles and identities harbor potential for sound and ethical leadership towards better societies. The presentation will build on a recent research on social workers ethical decision-making and their professional identities to explore the assets and barriers of social workers as leaders in their organizations, inter-organizational processes and communities. Narrative interviews with Slovenian social work practitioners and participation with observation in Slovene social work institutions have provided an empirical source enabling the author in deciphering the (work) processes social workers are involved in, as they are formed through professional character and professional conduct. In the context of a tri-partite perspective, which evolved out of the research material - the personal (emotions, motives, intuition, interpersonal relationships), the professional (professional identities, professional judgement and the concept of help) and systemic (legislation, the wider public and work environment), the presentation will give most attention to emotions, interpersonal relationships in professional work and professionals’ work environments. The presentation will discuss insights from these viewpoints to elaborate on the idea, that social work comprises values, experience and knowledge enabling social workers to pursue roles of sound and ethical leadership with the aim of contributing to promotion and formation of human rights practices across societies.
The current refugee crisis in Europe has led to a strong societal debate on the problem in terms of controlling and distributing the refugees. This debate is situated within the realm of ‘the politics’ or ‘the art of the possible’ (Lefort; Mouffe; Rancière) where the ‘existing order’ is not questioned: the procedures, the position of the refugees or the practices of civil society and governmental organisations are not subject of discussion. However, the directly involved civilians and organisations try to reposition the debate to ‘the political’ or ‘the art of the impossible’. In this struggle for equality and social justice for refugees, the existing order becomes disputed. This question of politicisation is especially interesting when working with volunteers. Are volunteer organisations currently politicising or depoliticising? Are they just replacing the failing authorities and limiting solidarity to first aid support only? Are they obstructing a more structural approach to maximise human rights (structural approach of Mestrum, 2015)? Or are they stimulating awareness of the involved volunteers and supporting a more activating approach to maximise human rights this way (agency approach of Terryn, 2015)? This agency hypothesis was investigated throughout exploratory case studies of volunteer organisations that work with undocumented immigrants in Ghent (Flanders, Belgium). Four questions on the process of the politicisation of volunteers were examined: How do volunteers perceive the position of undocumented immigrants (the ‘paperless’) in their organisation? How do they see the social needs of these people? Do the volunteers question the existing order and undertake action to change it in order to fight social injustice? And the final question: (how) do the volunteer organisations stimulate this politicisation process of volunteers? The two researched organisations varied on scale, mission, institutionalisation and relationship to the government. A multimethod approach was used in the two case-studies, with participatory observations (2x8 times during two months), 5 exploratory interviews, internal document analysis (mission statement, reports…), a joint qualitative analysis by 6 researchers and feedback loops with the organisations and experts. The results show that social work organisations are indeed challenged to (re)position themselves. Based on the observed differences on the kind of support for refugees that is provided (on demand help and public campaigns with the refugees versus practical aid for the refugees), on the level of involvement of refugees in the activities (active participants versus passive receivers) and on the perception of social needs (informed versus uniformed), we claim that the approach of the social work organisations on refugees has a strong influence on the politicisation of their volunteers as well. Only when the external claim for (more) equality for the paperless is also adopted internally, this claim of equality is extended to the volunteers. The involved volunteers can be activated by social work organisations to maximise the human rights of refugees and question the existing order, without limiting solidarity to first aid. The politicisation of refugees and volunteers go hand in hand. As equals.
Previous qualitative research has revealed a difference between policy goals concerning client activation and the actual implementation of policy, suggesting that social assistance treatment in the field is less focused on activation than intended in the legislation. In this paper, we hypothesise that such implementation is guided to a certain extent by the perceptions of local case managers concerning how deserving clients are, as well as by their general attitudes towards the welfare state. The analyses are based on a study involving case managers from Belgian social assistance offices who were presented with experimentally varied client descriptions and asked to predict treatment. Multi-level techniques were used to account for the clustering of the respondents (644) in the offices (90), and the client descriptions (5664) in the respondents. Belgian social assistance legislation is particularly focused on activation with regard to young social assistance claimants. In our research, this was reflected in a high likelihood that typical clients would be activated (85%). However, for clients who had psychological problems and a sick child, this likelihood decreased by 16 procentpoint. The likelihood of being sanctioned for refusing a job offer was close to the average across all groups (52-63%). However, if the client had a sick child and severe drug problems the likelihood of sanctioning decreased to 31-53%. This means that case managers do not implement activation legislation in a straightforward manner. Instead, they first consider the vulnerability of the client, relying on their personal assessment of the client’s deservingness. Furthermore, the case manager’s opinion of the welfare state (latent variable based on a standardised attitude questionnaire) was found to have the highest explanatory power concerning social assistance treatment. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the attitudes of local case managers may resist and reinvent policy goals.
Previous qualitative research has revealed a difference between policy goals concerning client activation and the actual implementation of policy, suggesting that social assistance treatment in the field is less focused on activation than intended in the legislation. In this paper, we hypothesise that such implementation is guided to a certain extent by the perceptions of local case managers concerning how deserving clients are, as well as by their general attitudes towards the welfare state. The analyses are based on a study involving case managers from Belgian social assistance offices who were presented with experimentally varied client descriptions and asked to predict treatment. Multi-level techniques were used to account for the clustering of the respondents (644) in the offices (90), and the client descriptions (5664) in the respondents. Belgian social assistance legislation is particularly focused on activation with regard to young social assistance claimants. In our research, this was reflected in a high likelihood that typical clients would be activated (85%). However, for clients who had psychological problems and a sick child, this likelihood decreased by 16 percent point. The likelihood of being sanctioned for refusing a job offer was close to the average across all groups (52-63%). However, if the client had a sick child and severe drug problems the likelihood of sanctioning decreased to 31-53%. This means that case managers do not implement activation legislation in a straightforward manner. Instead, they first consider the vulnerability of the client, relying on their personal assessment of the client’s deservingness. Furthermore, the case manager’s opinion of the welfare state (latent variable based on a standardised attitude questionnaire) was found to have the highest explanatory power concerning social assistance treatment. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the attitudes of local case managers may resist and reinvent policy goals.
We live in a postpolitical era and politics is being replaced by public management, so we are told. At last the age of realism has begun: the 'end of grand narratives' will preserve us from the dangers of utopianism. On the other hand the priority of politics is reclaimed in a narrow interpretation of Arendt's distinction between the social and the political. In this view politics are the sole responsibility and property of democratically elected politicians. In this approach the only political role of citizens is to elect their representatives and civil society should not interfere in the government of society. From both perspectives it is also clear that especially social workers have no political task: social workers only implement policy. At most they can signal some deficiencies in social policy or inconveniences in society. Although both views seem antithetic, the one celebrating the end of politics, and the other striving for giving politics their due, they show astonishing similarities. At first, they both agree that democracy has finally been realized. Secondly, they agree that democracy is realized through a system of government, of administration of the state, that maintains a clear difference between rulers and ruled. Ultimately, it is democratic because the ruled elect their rulers. Rancière fundamentally disagrees with this view. In his opinion democracy is not a system of ruling the state, nor can politics be reduced to governing or exercising and struggling for power. These are questions of policy, meaning establishing and maintaining an order in society. Every social order installs people on different positions, so every social order necessarily installs inequality. Conversely, for Rancière politics is about the citizen, who, following a passage in Book 3 of Aristotle's Politics, ‘partakes in the fact of ruling and the fact of being ruled’. This is the first of Rancières 'Ten Theses on Politics.' Therefore politics and democracy are synonyms: democracy supposes the equality of everyone to everyone. No one is more competent to rule than anybody else. So democracy breaches the traditional logic of ruling, that supposes that in order to rule, one needs to have special competences and qualities. That is also the reason why Rancière is so interested in Jacotot, the 'Ignorant Schoolmaster', who takes his stand on the equality of intelligence of everyone as the basic principle of the method of intellectual emancipation. So policy, that inevitably allocates different positions, and by doing so installs inequality, always creates injustice, while politics in Rancières view must be seen as mobilizing the principle of the equality of everyone to everyone to repair this injustice. But this reparation will always generate a new policy, a new injustice. Therefore, while policy is the normal order, politics can only be momentary, focused and specific. This means social work concerns more than repairing the injustices that are acknowledged by the ruling policy. Social work practices can and should also politicize, taking their stand on the universal equality of men. Social work can be critical, without believing in utopia.
Social services commissioning practices are actively studied in various countries. In Ukraine there are some examples of exploring such an experience by the experts which represented the international organizations. At the same time, there are very few analytic papers on the practice of social services commissioning practices in Ukraine. However, during the last several years the interest to this issue has significantly increased mainly because of the activities by the Ministry for Social Policy of Ukraine targeting the social services provision system reform, the UNDP Program ‘Support to the social sector reform in Ukraine’ and active promotion of the social services commissioning. The qualitative study was held in 2015 in Ukraine on the opportunities for applying social services commissioning to provide social services. Based on the outcomes, the following conclusions were made: Social services commissioning is quite a wide practice to fund social services both in Western and post-Soviet countries. In Ukraine social services commissioning has been developed over the last decade and is actively implemented by civic and charitable foundations in Odessa City, Kharkiv City, Poltava City, as well as in the recently joined Mykholayiv, Khmelnyskiy, Zaporizhzha and Cherkasy Oblasts. The main basis for implementing the mechanism of social services commissioning is the need to enhance competition amongst the subjects – social service providers, quality of services, quality assurance system, monitoring and evaluation of efficiency of services, correspondence of services to service users’ needs, timeliness and efficiency of the services provided. The general regulatory framework for introducing social services commissioning in terms of regulating content, standards, minimum package of services, the procedure for social services commissioning implementation, the funding procedure, has been formed. But the mechanisms for its implementation are still being formed and developed. A sufficient number of documents developed and approved in 2012 – 2013 require review and amendments, as during the last three years the current legislation has been significantly changed. First of all, it concerns the Law of Ukraine ‘On social services’ (revised as of October 18, 2012) and the Budget Code of Ukraine, as at the end of September 2015 there were changes made to the Laws of Ukraine ‘On the local state administrations’ and ‘On public procurement’. Due to the decentralization processes, there are new approaches and requirements to formation of the local budgets allocated for the social services commissioning. The following issues are required to be modified: a) regulation of the content, the standards, the minimum package of services; b) the procedure of social services commissioning; c) the funding order; d) development of social services commissioning subjects, including their organizational and personnel potential.
Social work in Ukraine as a professional project (Wells-Gall & Welbourne, 2008) has been formed during the last two decades. Both local indigenous knowledge and international best practices brought by various projects formed the core knowledge base for social work as an academic discipline and the profession in Ukraine. Existing social work knowledge has been permanently challenged and diffused by the status of discipline within academia which first has been under sociology, then under social welfare and only since 2016 it has been identified as a separate area of knowledge. The new Law of Ukraine which has been adopted in 2015 has ensured officially the third cycle of education – PhD. However, doctoral training for the social work has been challenged by a range of issues including inherited system of postgraduate studies left from the USSR where social work has not existed, and, thus, no academic staff with PhD in SW could be trained. The lack of social work research centres and expertise has hampered social work academization and professionalization in Ukraine. The first in Ukraine PhD programme in Social Work was developed and introduced within the project ‘Advancing the three cycle system in social work education in six European countries’ by the EU Tempus Programme support, at the School of Social Work at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. This process has been actively supported by the partner European universities - Sheffield Hallam University (UK); Tbilisi State University (Georgia); University of Ljubljana (Slovenia); Tallinn University (Estonia); Vilnius Pedagogical University (Lithuania). The main focus in social work doctoral training was made on mastering research methodology and developing PhD student’s transferable skills and research competences. The latter is of special importance for social work in Ukraine especially (Boyko, 2014; Kabachenko et al., 2011), and world-wide as well (Maynard et al., 2014; Orme & Powell, 2008; Dominelli, 1996). This approach makes a significant difference from traditional for Ukraine ‘aspirantura’ (postgraduate) studies in terms of academic procedure, training, final outcome and its contribution to building the local body of social work knowledge. Participatory observations and reflections of our study evidenced a range of challenges and issues including different approaches and models for theorizing the social work profession in transition societies; the need to ‘localize’ the international knowledge and practices brought; the need to address the requirements of European academic traditions and the reality of higher education system in transition etc.
A very relevant leitmotif in critical social sciences and social analysis concerning the state of democracy in bourgeois capitalist societies is the extraordinary gap between the technical over-development and the social underdevelopment (for the latest version of this see Castells, 1998) which leads to the rise of right-wing movements, the disenfranchisement of the people and eventually oligarchic rule. In confronting this children are often invoked as the last hope for the future, with an emphasis on questions of how they can be brought into adulthood with an emancipatory political orientation which halts or reverses this decline in democracy. Conventionally, answers to these questions are sought via the disciplinary fields of developmental psychology and educational science. However, we argue here that childhood studies offers a more fruitful set of conceptualisations, not least the concept of children as social actors and as citizens in the here and now. Drawing on this conceptual framework and empirical studies, we suggest that the logic of the decline of democracy can be challenged via processes which support the emergence of the politicised child, connecting this to the central importance of a participatory democracy. In this, we move beyond questions of political socialisation to consider the need for politicisation and examine the contribution social work can make to this development.
According to the global definition, human rights are a fundamental basis for social work (IASSW & IFSW, 2014). The increasing significance of human rights for social work needs to be understood against the background of the development of the western welfare states after the Second World War. Besides law enforcement and regulation of the labour market, the post-war welfare states were commissioned to warrant greater social equality and freedom. A democratic regime was considered as the best polity to guarantee those principles, as Donnelly (1999: 619) states: “Democracy and human rights share a commitment to the ideal of equal political dignity for all.” From that period onwards, human rights and democracy became a twin concept. Social work in its turn increasingly became an instrument for the development of this democratic society, that is, as Biesta argues, “a society oriented towards the political values of equality and freedom.” (Biesta, 2011). In this presentation, we will discuss the democratic orientation of a human rights-based approach in social work. We will do this by presenting an ongoing research project in Flanders (Belgium), where a human rights-based approach to social work is studied in the context of community development practices. By way of an ethnographic research design, the different dimensions and orientations of a human rights-based approach in social work are scrutinized. We will explain how human rights can be understood as an important lever for the democratic role of social work. Social work is supposed to ‘politicize’ social issues, i.e. questioning the taken for granted power relations, discourses and existing orders that can cause social injustice and violations of human rights. Social work can do this by creating an agora, a ‘space’ where social work facilitates a public debate about social issues. This public debate is constructed as a ‘democratic experiment’ (Biesta, 2011), formed by recognizing and debating pluralism and diversity in society (Lemmens & Schaiko, 2012: 01) and is oriented towards a possible radicalization of democracy in the sense of human dignity and social justice for all.
The definition of the Belgian sociologist Vranken became THE definition of poverty in the Flemish Decree on poverty. This definition: "a network of forms of social exclusion that extends over several areas of individual and collective existence (1). It separates the poor from the generally accepted modes of existence in society (2) creating a gap that poor people are unable to bridge on their own (3)." In our contribution we reconstruct the historical background of the definition and how it functions in practice. The importance of this definition is hard to ignore – it frames the official poverty policy and the Yearbook on poverty and social exclusion since 1992. It frames the work of many practitioners and self-organizations of poor people in Flanders. Many colleagues in Social Work education in Flanders use this definition as do I. But this year I also ‘deconstructed’ it – using the humanities and especially the concept of framing as a source of inspiration like the new global definition of Social Work urges us to do. What has happened in many practices through this framing of poverty : The first sentence opens up a space to study poverty in all areas of human existence, to develop policies in all these areas and to intervene. When anyone looks at what has happened in Flanders, this is exactly what has happened. We discovered exclusion from day care to elderly care, in health, social security, housing, education et cetera. We developed policies and interventions to ‘combat poverty’, discovered the complexities of the interactions between domains and dimensions of poverty … An almost infinite mental space of studying, policing and intervening poverty has opened up. The second sentence takes us two steps further : - It separates the poor from the generally accepted modes of existence in society What happens here: a) the problem of poverty becomes an impersonated problem a problem of a group, a category of persons, the poor, that separates them from the rest of society – making not poverty but the poor persons into an object of study, policy and social work interventions b) it makes the poor person or the interaction between them and the rest of society into an object from the perspective of cultural sociology – pushing poverty as an economical problem of a certain social order – into the background The third sentence takes the final step: it incapacitates the poor to bridge the gap with the rest of society on their own. ‘Inspired’ by this definition, we made the poor into subjects in the development of a participatory poverty policy and social interventions trying to help them to bridge the gap. Social scientific knowledge that points to the context of poverty and demonstrating that people living in poverty when they no longer live in poverty are perfectly capable to live their lives is mostly neglected. The framing of poverty through this definition of poverty incapacitates social workers, social scientists and policy makers to look at poverty from another angle.
THESIS Social work contributes to policy-development and decision making in society as follows: (1) because of the character of its work: initiating and supporting social change, (2) by its purpose: enhancing well-being for all, (3) because of the way it works: stimulating empowerment and participation, (4) because of its specific role in the social infrastructure: monitoring, advising & developing PROBLEM Many of the social work students and professionals focus on the tangible, specific, and practical related micro- and meso level. The macro level, in which social work fulfils its societal functions, is considered as theoretical, far away from every day practice, hardly changeable, and taken for granted. QUESTION How can we, as teachers, make the functions of social work on the macro level visible, understandable, and workable for students and workers? DETERMINING THE POSITION OF SOCIAL WORK To locate the position(s) of social work in the policy- and decision making process in society I make use of the body of knowledge of political science, public administration, and sociology. On the strategic and instrumental level I found a connection between these disciplines. I used the world wide known cyclic political system model of the American political scientist David Easton (Easton, 1965 ) as modified and extended in 1989 by the Dutch scientists Van de Gevel & Van de Goor (1989). (see also Blok, 2012, p. 141-147) A MODEL FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES The policy- and decision model as a result of this can be used to make students and workers aware of the vital, important role of the profession in society. The model is in my opinion and according to my experience, suitable for demonstrating how social workers by acting according to their training and profession, and their clients in various stages can and do influence the process of policy- and decision making in society. To be clear: social work was not mentioned by Easton, neither by Van de Gevel and Van de Goor. Social Work was incorporated and integrated in the model by me. The model can be visualized with the use of PowerPoint, and can be illustrated with news fragments from television, the Internet and newspapers, as well with own experiences of the students and workers. PURPOSE At the conference I will present the model in a stepwise way with help of PowerPoint, as I am used to do in education. After that I invite my colleagues to ask questions, make remarks, and discuss the usefulness of the model in education.
In most of the rich Western Countries child poverty has been increasing in recent years, particularly in single-parent households. This applies to Japan as well. The poverty rate of single-mother households in Japan surpasses even the 50% line. And, like in most other countries of the world, poverty tends to be transmitted from one generation to the next. Nonetheless, there are at least two points in which Japanese data clearly differ: First, it makes almost no difference in single-mother households whether the mother is in paid employment or not. Second, with the number of children growing up in poor families being on the rise, the number of them managing to enter a university is increasing as well and the most recent OECD data even show an extremely high rank of educational well-being for Japanese children, topping any other OECD state. How can these figures be understood? The scholarship system in Japan is still poor, and money transfers among distant family members seem to be rather rare in comparison to other Asian or Western societies. Admittedly, the tuition fees for senior high schools have been abolished not only for the poorest, but other expenses connected with attending a high school are still high. In the paper, I want to present some data to further expound the situation, and discuss it in the broader context of waning solidarity. I will also explore the actions taken by young people trying to overcome their disadvantageous situation and the effect of their efforts.
The main purpose of this study is to analyse child Foster Care (FC) in Portugal through the lens of the public policy making theoretical framework. As a legal measure in Portugal, FC is institutionalised since 1979. However, it is available nowadays for approximately 4,5% of children removed from their families by the state protection system. This portrait contrasts significantly with the development of the measure in the United States, the Nordic countries or the United Kingdom and is still far from the implementation numbers achieved by countries like France, Italy or Spain. There are also significant implementation asymmetries in the national context. Two research questions are guiding this study: 1) Why does Portugal present an undeveloped FC reality when compared to several other countries? 2) Why are there significant variations in its implementation in Portuguese contexts? The current project is using qualitative methods to explore the mechanisms contributing to the existing implementation dynamics. The theoretical sample includes at the moment 10 interviews with professionals working in different institutional clusters related to the implementation as a policy stage. The departure point of the sampling process corresponds to a bottom-top model of policy implementation as an analytical perspective. As so, those interviewees work in some main institutional groups related to FC implementation: temporary foster centers as effective (2) or potential (3) developers; leading responsible institutions for development (2); legally institutional contexts (courts and specific commissions) responsible for deliberating and deciding which measure – FC or residential care – is to execute in out of home placements (2); the leading commission with responsibilities in strategic coordination at a national level towards the promotion and protection of Children’s Rights (1). The analysis of data is being made using MAXQDA software and following coding techniques seeking the construction of a grounded theory through the implicit theories of interviewees concerning FC and its implementation idiosyncrasies. Preliminary results are suggesting multiple factors that may explain the deficits of the implementation panorama in Portugal. From professionals who work in temporary foster centers, it seems that there is a lack of knowledge towards the legal framework providing possibilities of developing FC through their agencies; this lack of knowledge appears to correlate to a low reflexive thinking process influenced by a strict delimitation of the institutional intervention assignments. Professionals dismiss themselves from the responsibility of developing a measure that should be being implemented by institutions legally assigned with that responsibility. In some cases, professionals reveal little awareness or undervalue the outcomes from scientific studies regarding the benefits of FC. From professionals who decide for the implementation of a child protection measure, choosing a residential care type is most of all a result from the inexistence of available foster families. From public institutions that should be developing this measure, professionals unveil the lack of human resources and expose their concerns on the public-private sectors’ assignments, bringing up the discussion on the role of the State on providing child protection services. Keywords: policy making; implementation; foster care; Portugal
Wendy Brown has argued that the neoliberal ‘stealth revolution’ promotes and encourages processes and ways of thinking, even in circumstances where ‘where money is not at issue’, individuals are being configured as ‘market actors’. Can developments in the UK, connected to child adoption be perceived in this way? The paper will explore this question initially relating developments to the continuing analytical significance of Raymond Williams’ book Keywords, initially published in 1976. It will be suggested that child adoption language and policy is being discursively assembled to further the pursuance of a neoliberal political, economic and cultural agenda. Four factors warrant, it will be maintained, particular attention: the Conservative’s antipathy toward the welfare state and lack of trust in social workers; how neoliberal discourses on consumption are increasingly being mimicked in social work discourse and risk becoming embedded; the new emphasis placed on authenticity and ‘lived experience’ by the ‘primary definers’ of adoption policy; the impact of policy and practices in the United States.
Since the 1980s, the topic of welfare pluralism resp. welfare mix has been hotly discussed worldwide (Evers, 1991; Richard.N, Joe L, 1995). According to Evers , the welfare mix describes the empirical and historical diversity of welfare systems which have always been 'mixed'. Thus, different types of mixes can be found in this context (Evers and Svetlik, 1991). The third sector is an important part in the mixed welfare system, together with the state, the market and private households. In Germany, social services are represented in the third sector. The welfare umbrella associations are traditionally central stakeholders in health and social service provision. Organised in the Federal Welfare Working Group (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege), these agencies form an association that guarantees certain privileges for its members and cooperates with the state. In China, the development of NGOs hasn’t enjoyed such a long history as in Germany. Before the 1980s, social welfare was provided by the state and state-owned enterprises. Since the 1990s, the government started to encourage other stakeholders like market and third sector organisations to take part in welfare providing. The family has always been a central institution for welfare. The development of NGOs in China has been increasing rapidly in the last three decades. Together with the political-economic transformation, the social welfare system in China is also transforming (Richard.N, Joe L, 1995, Xiong, 1999). The different roles and different responsibilities taken by each sector are closely related to each other. In the context of welfare pluralism, the relation between different welfare providers is not yet stable and still in the process of transformation in both countries, but differently. Based on the analysis that welfare provision is provided by more stakeholders, this PhD project researches the question of the role that NGOs play in the context of welfare pluralism and how it has developed through the transformation of the respective welfare state. To be able to analyze the interconnections of the different welfare stakeholders (state, market, private, third sector), the field work will be carried out in both countries with interviews with different NGOs to provide contrasting insights.
The proposed paper presents some of the findings of my recently completed PhD study, which explored implications of displacement and cross-border migration in South Africa for social work’s commitment to social justice. Starting from the premise that human rights depend for their fulfilment on the existence of social justice, I will highlight some of the injustices that the study has brought to the fore, and the ways in which they are connected to contemporary forms of globalisation and neoliberalisation. I will argue that social work is entangled in these injustices, and that to be just, the profession’s responses will need to be informed by, and directed at, this entanglement. The study’s findings are based upon a multisite ethnographic study, conducted while practicing as a social worker in a refugee services organisation and participating in the responses of a local church to the mass displacement of foreign nationals during South Africa’s first xenophobic pogroms. Data collection lasted from May 2008 to October 2009 and included a reflexive diary, life story interviews with cross-border migrants, and depth individual interviews with practitioners of care. The data was analysed using a combination of grounded theory and critical discourse analysis and was further explored with reference to a range of writings on social justice. While foregrounding feminist relational/ethics of care approaches, I also drew on the ideas of capabilities and agency, and considered anti-oppressive and structural traditions in social work. The cross-border migrants in the study shared pervasive experiences of injustice, and practitioners responded to some of these with solidarity and care. Yet, they also displayed a general disregard for the structural nature of these injustices, and for their own implication therein. In the absence of any sustained and political response, there was a tendency to reify the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions surrounding their encounters. When expectations towards successful interventions were not met, cross-border migrants tended to be blamed for their situation, apt to be framed as undeserving of help. Together, members of the different participant groups together had a tendency to re-enact historical scripts for relationships between members of different races, classes, and nationalities in post-apartheid South Africa. These scripts were structured further by a well-established welfare discourse around service provider/service user relationships. Regarding responsibility for human rights and social justice as shared and forward-looking, I will conclude with a focus on social work’s entanglement in the plight of cross-border migrants – a group that highlights humanity’s collective vulnerability to neoliberal forms of globalisation. I will propose that ideals of participatory parity, care, and dialogical forms of engagement can usefully guide socially just interventions and human rights practice. The formation of communities of practice to provide safe spaces for mutual support and debate might prove crucial in practitioners’ ability responding justly to pertinent injustices, even under difficult conditions.
The First World War can be identified as a total war since it affected every level of society far beyond the front. In Belgium, violence against civilians caused an exodus. 1.5 million Belgians sought exile, of which 250.000 reached British shores. These Belgians were dispersed over England and allocated by local committees in the country (Amara, 2008; Cahalan, 1982). Approximately 5.000 Belgians were housed in Birmingham, where philanthropy was dominated by prominent Nonconformist families. These middle-class families were all interconnected through political, business, marital or philanthropic relations. Out of these dense social networks, the War Refugees’ Committee (WRC) was founded. In the early days, this relief organisation had to tackle difficulties as the situation was chaotic and relief was an ad hoc solution (Roberts, 2014). However, as the war continued, the WRC developed into a definite organisation. Although Birmingham was known for its reforming character, there is a lack of studies about networks supporting philanthropy and social work in this city (Harvey, 2013), the story of refugee relief during the First World War in particular. More broadly, throughout the war and the interwar years, the professionalization of independent social work was stimulated and was reflected in an increase in the demand for educated social workers (Macadam, 1925). In this study, the refugee relief in Birmingham is analysed by the analytical framework of layered networks, as developed by Harvey (2013). It states that the layered networks that supported the WRC consist of a transnational, national and local level. At the local level, certain prominent persons, such as Elizabeth Cadbury, played a central role in organising charity in the city. These key figures made an appeal to their (personal) networks to initiate the refugee relief. Eventually, the various local networks were mobilised and connected with other national and transnational networks. How these different levels operated and were interconnected will be analysed. The dynamics of these networks will be demonstrated by means of following case-study. In 1916, three Belgian munition workers got arrested after being involved in a drunk street fight. They were found guilty of a street disturbance and after one month’s imprisonment they were forced to enlist in the Belgian Army and deported by the Belgian government. As these men were the wage-earners of their families, these families were left destitute and ultimately taken care of by the WRC. This particular case-study shows how an individual can be confronted with a range of networks, interfering in his life and having a thorough influence. This study wants to highlight how these different networks were intertwined and that in certain cases these networks were layered and interdependent. It demonstrates the importance of networks for the mobilisation of philanthropy and its continued existence throughout war. It also concludes that the Belgian exile had an influence on certain charities evolving to social work organisations, such as the Catholic Women’s League. In general, it can be said that the Great War played a decisive role in the transformation of philanthropy to professional and institutional social work.
High numbers of people migrated in the last years to Germany with a peak in 2015, when more than a million people came to this country. Among them are many so called unaccompanied minor refugees (UMR) who have been placed all over Germany in residential care settings of the social work system. The field of social work working with this population itself has grown extensively since last summer and there are many discourses how to conceptualize it. With my PhD project I want to focus on experiences of these young people who have spent longer or shorter times in residential care settings. The German social law for children and youth (SGB VIII) then opens another support process for young people once they turn eighteen years: youth support for young adults, that can be implemented until the 21st birthday of a person. This field of social work can be described as a care leave transition support process. From a methodological standpoint I plan to do a qualitative research with an interpretative framework. Therefore I will use different categories of data (triangulation). For analyzing the data the Grounded Theory seems to me a rich concept to conduct an open and empirical based research process. Another important aspect is the systematical implementation of participatory aspects throughout the whole research process. The project wants to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of young people who are within or who went through this process. The discourses around refugees and the political, legal, but also pedagogical challenges and solutions are highly dynamic and important topics in Germany as well as Europe. Seeing social work as an applied science I hope to create relevant knowledge to conceptualize decent social work responses for the future. Literature: Nüsken, D. (2014): Übergang aus der stationären Jugendhilfe ins Erwachsenenleben in Deutschland. Frankfurt am Main Sievers, B. / Thomas, S. / Zeller, M. (2015): Jugendhilfe – und dann? Zur Gestaltung der Übergänge junger Erwachsener aus stationären Erziehungshilfen. Frankfurt am Main
Today we are confronted with rapidly increasing new ‘types’ of adolescents at risk. Vulnerable youth find-ing it hard to cope with the conditions in society today, and adolescents who step by step has to ‘find yourself’ build up more self-esteem and change life trajectory. Adolescents where negative social heritage or specific learning difficulties not explicit are up front as main descriptions of causes for their vulnerable situation, and youngsters at risk for developing anxiety, depressions, social phobia and other mental difficulties. Many of them drop out from the education system or the labour market, and they need social and often psychological support to prevent social de-route. In the European Union there is an emerging concern in connection with these youngsters and international political interest for developing new pathways to adulthood and employability through institutionalized ‘informal learning’ pointing at creativity and maybe alternative possible goals like cultural entrepreneurs, artist, writers and so on (e.g. EU 2014:4,42). The Danish second chance school ‘The Academy for Untamed Creativity‘(AFUK) is an in many ways successful untraditional semi-educational environment formally organized as a ‘Production School’, where the “objective is to strengthen the personal development of the participants and improve their chances in the education system and the ordinary labour market.” (Danish Ministry of Education). As the name indicates AFUK’s basic idea is to empower the participants trying to strengthen their self-esteem, acting competence and individual development working with creative projects – theatre, music, poetry, design, cooking (as art) etcetera and in an analytical sense representing a contemporary social pedagogical and educational approach to vulnerable and marginalized adolescents. The topic of the presentation is a research project associated to AFUK. Methodological based on case study, and consists of two phases over the last ten years. Phase one was carried out some years ago, and the objective was to identify and describe ‘the nerve’ in the social pedagogical approach (Langager et. al 2007, Langager 2009). The findings appeared to be quite inspirational because AFUK tracked some of the pathways in the following years, and in 2015 they received a (in Danish context rather huge) grant from a private foundation with the aim to develop their experiences in a more generalized way and disseminate them as an social educational ‘manifest’ including material as inspiration for others working with vulnerable and/or at risk young people. As ‘old research friends of the house’ phase two was agreed starting in 2016. This presentation describes pivotal findings from the previous research study (part one) with the aim to discover why AFUK undoubtedly succeed in their social and educational effort targeting ‘outsider youth’ combined with the actual research project (part two) with more theoretical framework to key concepts within the AFUK such as ‘Obligation to mess up’ (e.g. Dewey 1997), ‘Manners & Grace’ (e.g. Goffman 1967), project orientation with weak/strong framing (e.g. Bernstein 2000) and creativity and aesthetic learning as inherent in the daily activities (e.g. Hammershøj 2014, Langager 2009b).
The paper presents empirical research findings on motivators for studying Social work of 3 groups of respondents: bachelor, master and doctoral students in Social work and in comparison the motivating factors for professional realization in that field. The motivation for continuous education, in-service training and practice in professional context of social work practitioners is studied and compared with motivators of social work students. Data analysis outlines current challenges and directions for desired change in Bulgarian socio-economical and university context. In conclusion group reflection on the findings in cross-countries perspective will be welcomed and appreciated. Key words: social work, motivation, preparation and professional realization of social workers
Abstract. Social work, democracy and human rights. A triadic approach The Conference theme links social work and democracy, the commentary adds a third element, human rights. The purpose of this paper is to link the three elements in a triadic approach. The paper is structured as a sequence of angles and sides of the triangle, and concludes with an evaluation of the supplementary insights a triadic approach eventually provides. The three basic concepts are “essentially contested concepts”. They have to be carefully defined, situated in time-space and elaborated discriminately, with particular attention to internal tensions (for instance, the tension within social work between “human rights practices” and “social entrepreneur”, or the tension within the rights between civil, political and socio-economical rights and human rights – see the fear of Colette Bec that social rights degenerate into human rights). With regard to the sides of the triangle, questions are: • is there a (necessary) relation between (human) rights and democracy? According to Claude Lefort, (declarations concerning) human rights ground democracy. At the same time rights are historical constructs, forever a topic of debate in a democracy, as we have found out recently in relation to the refugee crisis - but, does this imply that “rights are under pressure”? • is there a (necessary) relation between (human) rights and social work? Social work pretends to be a “human rights practice” or at least advocates a reorientation in that direction – see the international definition and the pleas by Dutch and Flemish professors in social work. On the other side there exists social work with no relation to rights, historically and actually (for instance social work in totalitarian states). • Is there a (necessary) relation between social work and democracy? If we consider the (actual, European) social work to be part and parcel of the welfare state – which is by definition democratic – there is a direct link. At the same time social work is a functionally differentiated sector (Luhmann) which can or should play a active role in the democratic debate about the organisation of society. However, in the process social work cannot risk to give up its identity (to be defined) and become a “human rights organisation” (see the discussion about Amnesty International). We also have to keep in mind the distinctions between social work as a “democratic forum” for internal debates and debates with other sectors, and the participation of social work in the “democratic forum” of politics. And the distinction between a forum (agora), an arena, and a market.
Within this presentation the quantitative and a few qualitative results from the Danish domestic project ‘Local Partnerships. Production Schools - Companies - Civil Society ‘will be presented. The main aim of the project has been to evaluate this development project in the period 2014-2016. The project is carried out in collaboration between four production schools in Denmark (Esbjerg, Aarhus, Randers and Copenhagen) and a social work NGO ‘Social and Educational Development and Training Centre’ known as SPUK. The project has been funded by the Velux Foundation. The project involves a large number of teachers, managers, coordinators and students from the respective production schools and employees from public and private companies and volunteers from associations. The results that will be presented mainly build on an analysis of a questionnaire for the pupils as well as school records. Also results from semi structured interviews with pupils in this project will be included. These data is furthermore combined with other questionnaire data collected among other young people in order for comparative insights on drug use, cultural activities, well-being and democratic participation (European Commission, Brussels DG Communication COMM A1, 2013). A number of validated instruments have been applied as well, these include the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) , Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner 1991) og Rosenberg Self‐Esteem Scale (RSE).