The enhancement of social cohesion has always been a key challenge for social work. As the community sport field in Flanders particularly found its origin in the youth and welfare sector sins the ’90, community sport practices are intertwined in this challenge social work is faced with, particularly because community sport practices provide an inclusive alternative to classic social work approaches in the achievement of social objectives. Community sport initiatives particularly take the issue of social inequality as the main legitimation of their interventions in the leisure time of socially vulnerable young people. A such, the concept of community sport is established from the core objective to contribute to social justice and equity. Moreover, community sport initiatives focus on the attainment of social cohesion as a lever to combat this social inequality. However, we argue that existing conceptual frameworks of social cohesion are insufficient to capture this structural dimension of social cohesion, due to their dominant focus on individual levels of social cohesion. A previous study (we finished in 2016) towards the perspectives of Flemish community sport practitioners on the enhancement of social cohesion through community sport, reveals a disjuncture between these academic constructs of social cohesion and the understandings of practitioners, as practitioners pursue social cohesion from a clear awareness towards structural causes of inequality. However, the academic dominance on individual notions of social cohesion provides little possibilities for practitioners to translate their awareness into a structural way of working. Based on these results, ongoing action research was conducted in a community sport practice in Flanders in which we explored the structural function of community sport. In this presentation, we will shed light upon the findings of this research, particularly with regard to the way in which practitioners deploy their signal function as a strategy to take up their structural role.
The importance of leisure clubs and youth centers and the sense of community for children and young people in ghetto areas – Preventing movements into crime and street gangs through educational Communities This abstract focuses on presenting empirical results from an ongoing research project concerned with the importance of pedagogy when developing strong social communities for children and young people who grow up in ghetto areas in Denmark. The presentation has a special focus on how pedagogy – and more specific how the pedagogy and the pedagogues in leisure clubs and youth centers may help – through the development of strong communities – preventing children and young people from movements into crime and street gangs. In a Danish context, we are currently witnessing how the political and legal system is enacted harsher penalties while the social pedagogical and preventive interventions is faded into the background and thus fail to get a voice when working with social and pedagogical interventions which prevent children and young people from movements into crime and street gangs. This research project is based on the assumption that the pedagogy of leisure clubs and youth centers offers a host of opportunities to support the well-being and development of children and young people, community inclusion as well as high potential for preventive work in relation to children and young people’s movements into crime and street gangs. On a general level, the project is placed within the social research field on children and young people, is interdisciplinary and passes across the pedagogical, the psychological and the anthropological research field. At the same time, the research project seeks to contribute to a growing research field within social research on children and young people, in which children’s everyday life, development and learning are studied based on the pedagogical contexts in which everyday life takes place. And in which the pedagogues and pedagogical interventions form a fundamental and integral part of children and young people’s upbringing and well-being in the modern Danish welfare society. The research project is empirically based on the involvement of three different urban and residential areas in Denmark, all located on the official ghetto list, and more specifically with the involvement of residential social activities, leisure clubs and youth centers, as well as children, young people and their parents. Methodically, the research project is based on the use of the ethnographic tradition of fieldwork, interviews with pedagogues, management, children, young people and parents. The expected results of the overall research project are to develop new interdisciplinary research-based knowledge related to the activities of leisure clubs and youth centers and their importance to children and young people’s everyday lives and communities – and how these activities contribute to preventing movements into crime and street gangs – knowledge not previously gained in a Danish context.
Abstract This paper argues that contemporary child and family social work in England and some other states in Europe needs an ethical ‘turn’. This paper considers the facts in the Re W judgment and identifies certain features in the case that can be understood as products resulting from a particular paradigm of social work in contemporary practice. National and international implications are considered and hopeful ways forward are proffered: epistemic humility, inner dialogue, and cultivating our humanity The key message of this paper is that Re W indicates that contemporary child and family social work is dominated by an ‘automatic’ thinking which tends not to ‘hear’ the voices of actual human beings and a refocusing on ethics work is needed to put humane practice back at the heart of the social work profession. Keywords: Re W, ethics work, child and family social work, social work
Summary The work aims to draw attention to the value of fidelity on several levels including the family. Undoubtedly, "fidelity" is a concept that causes many opinions, reflections and conclusions. In the era of modern changes, a lot is said about the crisis of values. Many of people decide to accept views that do not necessarily correlate with what he believes in order to conform. But does the meaning of fidelity lose its strength? It is worth considering this nuance through the prism of the family - the closest environment of man. Currently, there is an increase in the sense of distrust among the public in relation to people and institutions. This is caused, among others, by socio-cultural changes, globalization, development of modern technologies. At the same time, however, trust is the basis of human functioning. It is worth considering trust through the prism of values and family relationships. The article is an interdisciplinary, theoretical view of the phenomenon of trust; ethical, philosophical, psychological and sociological. The statistical data on various trust situations in Poland and the opinions of young people on trust in the relationship will be published. It will be emphasized that the ability to trust can be treated as a psychological trait - located in the personality of an individual shaped by family relationships, as well as her personal experience. At the same time, trust is an element of family and social ties. It will be emphasized that trust is a quite specific and complex concept covering many areas of human life. The immediate family is for him a special and privileged reference group. A condition that is necessary to build trust on the part of parents is their attitude of trust towards children. Trust is inscribed in the essence of human existence, without it man is unable to function properly. Keywords: value, faithfulness, family, relationships
Background/Rational In the last decades, researchers have extended our understanding of racism and the suffering of the individual lives in societies characterized by institutional racism. However, most research has focused on the negative consequences for minorities. Only a handful of researchers have tried to understand the impact of privilege on the psychology of majorities. Furthermore, these studies are restricted to the North American context. The present study suggests a new model for understanding the development of empathy, guilt, and fear among Israeli-Jews towards the racial experience of Palestinian-Arabs in Israel. Two approaches inform this paper's conceptualization: 1) Psychological Costs of Racism to Whites (PCRW), which assumes that empathy, guilt and fear correlate with racial attitudes and 2) the Dual-Process-Model (DPM), which maintains that racial attitudes are caused by high social dominance orientation (SDO), and right-wing authoritarian (RWA). We combine these two models with the assumption that the relationship between RWA, SDO and the emotional reactions will be mediated along two paths. The mediation path consists of different dimensions of racial attitudes: colour-blind racial attitudes (CoBRAS), prejudice and perception of Palestine-Arabs as a group. Methods/ Methodology Survey of 553 Jewish-Israeli university students designed to develop and test a new model of the determinants of empathy, guilt, and fear among majorities, toward the experience of racism suffered by minorities. Although we use a convenience sample, it is representative of the total student population in Israel. Results Structural equations modelling analysis made possible a comprehensive view of the three responses to racism. In light of the findings, an alternative theoretical model with a better fit is provided. The results show that the level of pre-existing RWA and SDO shape the emotional response. These two factors are mediated by racial attitudes through two different mediation paths: support of RWA is mediated by a lower awareness of racism, while colour-blind racial attitudes are not part of the axis of support for SDO. We attribute this difference to the characteristics individuals who support RWA versus those who support SDO. Conclusions The results contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the psychological costs of racism to the majority members. RWA and SDO, along with racial attitudes, and the perception of the Palestine-Arabs as a group, permit Israeli-Jews to preserve their moral self-perception, while simultaneously increasing their fear of Palestine-Arabs. Our research has implications for theoretical claims regarding racism as a process rather than a static phenomenon and also for the specific case of Israel. Our recommendation focuses on the awareness of racism: informing the majority group members about the life experiences of Palestinian-Arabs. We recommend developing educational programs for the training of social workers and intervention programs for social workers who operate in the Jewish community. The focus of these programs is to offer an alternative to the distorted picture of Palestinians that predominates in the mass media and among the general public.
Working under the radar: Church social work with undocumented immigrant families While much is known about church social work tasks in general, little is known about work carried out with undocumented immigrant families. The conditions for such work are closely linked to global and local developments and social rights. Conditions affecting such work can, for example, include a sudden increase in the number of immigrants remaining in the country after they have been refused asylum, extraordinary events such as terrorist attacks carried out by undocumented immigrants and the ensuing effects on public opinion, and changes in societal acceptance of church involvement in providing support to undocumented immigrants. Set in the context of refugee situation in Sweden following the Syrian conflict, the objective of this case study is to investigate how church social worker re-organize their work in helping undocumented immigrant families when changes suddenly take place in global and local conditions. The analytical tools derive from human service organizational theory and include concepts such as jurisdiction, discretion and negotiation (see Abbott, 1988; Hasenfeld, 2010; Strauss, 1977). Adopting this framework, focus is directed to the ways in which church social workers reason about (knowledge-building) and respond to (practical actions) the needs of undocumented immigrant families and unaccompanied children and young people and their social rights as human beings. Data consists of 15 focus group interviews over one hand a half year with six church social workers, observations of the church social workers attendance at two humanitarian network meetings, and in three staff development training days. The data was analysed using ethnographic approaches. The results indicate that the work task is constantly negotiated both internally, in relation to the organization of the church welfare service, and externally in relation to the church congregation and society in general. Although the work task of supporting undocumented immigrant families is accepted by both the church and society at large, negotiations often involve resource provision for work with undocumented immigrants. The results also shed light on negotiations around the visibility of the work task, the legitimizing of resource provision, and the securing of the voluntary help from others. These negotiations take place in the constant awareness of having to make risk-assessments that involve making work visible as a means of gaining resources, yet not to a degree where undocumented immigrant families run the risk of being apprehended and subsequently deported. The results indicate that these church social workers have a wide discretion in deciding how to carry out this particular work task. While this is professionally positive, it comes at the cost of stress related to the unsupported shouldering of responsibility. References Abbott, A. (1988). The system of professions. An essay on the division of expert labor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hasenfeld, Y. (2010). The attributes of human service organizations. In Y. Hasenfeld (Ed.), Human services as complex organizations, pp. 9-32. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Strauss, A. (1978). Negotiations: varieties, contexts, processes, and social order. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Mentoring interventions have gained popularity since 1990´s when the mentoring relationships between socially-disadvantaged children and volunteers who support children´s positive development and well-being started to be fostered by mentoring programmes and interventions. The cultural and socio-political context of youth mentoring interventions impacts on the ethos of the mission and values of the mentoring programmes, and is further transferred to mentors and their helping attitudes in the mentoring intervention (Brumovská, 2017). In the presentation, I want to outline the socio-cultural context of Big Brothers Big Sisters the Czech Republic programme that was established in 1996 with aims to promote volunteering and rejuvenation of civil society under George Soros funding. Following that, I will provide the results on the study on mentors´ helping attitudes and its quality, and discuss how the initial mission of the mentoring programme impacts on the quality of mentors´ approach to children and subsequently to quality of relationships the mentoring programme created. Therefore, the paper will focus on the following questions: What does empowering youth mean in different socio-political contexts? How mentoring is approached by BBBS programme in the Czech Republic? How these approaches shape the relationships mentors and mentees have on the ground? In general, it will discuss the ethical importance of focus on social justice, empowerment and children´s rights in mentoring interventions and will showcase how the mission of the programme with different focus impacts on the quality of mentoring relationships that socially-disadvantaged children and young people received as an intervention. The paper is based on doctoral research results (Brumovská, 2017).
Paid Paternity leave is a father-specific right to take time off work to care for the children. The EU-directive 96/34/EC allows and enables fathers to take paternity leave in order to better balance work and family life. This initiative was an important milestone within the European social policy. The low number of newborn children leads – not only in Italy but also in other European countries – to the question how reproduction might increase again. One solution identified by politicians is to support fathers’ parental leave. Despite the criticism of some experts concerning the effects of monetary incentives (Vogt, 2010; Meuser, 2011; Trappe, 2013; Bujard, 2013; Reimer, 2013; Nelles, 2015; Roosaluet al., 2016; Schein, 2017; O’Brien et al., 2017), financial contributions for parental leave are still paid. For example, the Council of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol has introduced such a measure (decision 923 of August 23 2016) aimed at supporting parental leave and fathers’ involvement. This governmental decision represents the sociopolitical framework on which this research project is based on. Research on paternity leave has to be carried out not only on fathers working in large organizations, but also on fathers working in small and medium-sized enterprises. Such research is rare (Lewis & Stumbitz, 2017; Ruspini & Tanturri, 2017). South Tyrolean economy is a suitable setting because over 90 percent of the enterprises are small and employ fewer than 10 workers (ASTAT, 2016). The aim of this inter- and transdisciplinary research (social policy, sociology, psychology and economy) is to explore the process of fathers’ decision-making in taking paternity leave. The research questions are: a) What are the reasons for fathers to take paternity leave in South Tyrolean’s private sector and how do they experience and assess this process? b) What are the reactions to active fatherhood by the working and social environment? c) Which are the factors that promote or hinder such a decision? Thereby, the intentionality is an important epistemological moment during the study of the process of fathers’ realization. Starting with a short video clip on paternity leave, qualitative, semi-structured interviews (Helfferich, 2011) are held in order to provide a cohort comparison of fathers with experience of leave (e.g. fathers in patchwork families, foster fathers and married fathers). The well-structured and standardized network-cards elaborated by Kahn/Antonucci (1980) are used to evaluate the networks, in which fathers are embedded in. In addition, timetables (Schulz et al., 2005) are applied to explore time management as an instrument to illustrate in which way fathers actually use parental leave. The data of time management will be analyzed based on Beck’s hypothesis of “theoretical openness of mind paired with general inflexibility” (1986). As this PhD-research – which is still work in progress – has started last year, the first results will be available in autumn 2018. Keywords: Paid Paternity leave, small and medium-sized enterprises, intentionality, qualitative interview, Autonomous Province of Bolzano-South Tyrol (Italy).
RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the discourse used in the expert texts on the issue of social work with persons with a physical and/or sensory disability in the Czech Republic? THEORETICAL BACKGROUND, METHODS: Language is a living entity and human behaviour is intertwined with a language. (Krčmová, 2010; Niemelä, 2018) The ideological and methodological frame of our research is represented by the Critical Discourse Analysis (TODA: Fairclough′s concept of a text–social context–dominance; and Wodak′s concept of a discourse–its perception). We also make use of the principles of the Grounded Theory (theoretical sampling and constant comparation). Discourse is the meaning representation of the world (Vašát, 2008) and represents the aspect of social practice as a way of speech in a particular perspective; it influences social rules and embodies a bridge between a text and society; it shapes subjects and their identity. (Fairclough, 2005) There is an evident pressure on using politically correct expressions in society (Glanc, 2015) and what was accepted as normal in the past, is often no more acceptable at present. (Hughes, 1995) Texts have certain power: 1. They influence the recipients.; 2. They set a certain “acceptable“ discourse to refer to particular issues. The texts involved in our research had to fulfill all the following criteria of relevance: • They were published in Sociální práce / Sociálna práca between 2001–2017. Sociální práce / Sociálna práca is our principal peer-reviewed journal on theory, practice and education in social work, which has been published since 1998, i.e. long enough for the changes in language to be observable. The period studied is demarkated by two milestones: 2001 is the year when the journal started to be edited by the Association of Educators in Social Work and 2017 is the last complete year up till now. • They were published in the Czech language. • They had the form of an academic paper (i.e written by respected authors and peer-reviewed). • At least one of the key words was mentioned in the title of the text: postižení (impairment), handicap, disabilita (disability), (zdravotní) znevýhodnění (health challenge). RESULTS: As our research is still being in progress, we can refer to the points analyzed so far or expected to be analyzed by the time of the conference. Moreover, potential differences between texts published 19 years ago and at present, and created identities of people with a disability will be mentioned at our conference paper. DISCUSSION: We will probably find out that a disability is generally reflected as a danger, risk, problem, obstacle, and inhibition by means of a language code. In the expert public, it will probably be perceived as a stimulus to help, too. IMPLICATIONS: Our findings can be used in day-to-day direct social work with clients with disabilities, in understanding the relationship between a language, social reality, and potential necessity to carry out social and linguistic changes. In the Czech republic, no similar scientific research has been conducted yet, which promises one of the benefits of our searching and publishing.
Despite the growing involvement of people in poverty in social policy, their participation does not necessarily take place on a par with policy-makers, as the latter often do not really embrace their demands for social justice. Deriving from the strong commitment of social work practices to participatory principles and the struggle for social justice, the potential role of social work and social practitioners in addressing and tackling such power issues is stressed in international debate. Here it is argued that social work has a role to play in the process of merging the knowledge of people in poverty with that of policy-makers and other stake-holders by representing their perspectives in public debate. Inspired by work of Nancy Fraser, we will analyse the complexity of creating such a politics of representation with Associations where People in Poverty Raise their Voice (anti-poverty organizations in Flanders and Brussels, Belgium), and discuss the potential role of social work practitioners in such participatory ventures. We have conducted an in-depth research in five Associations, consisting of two separate yet interrelated phases. In the first phase we have conducted participant observations in a diversity of activities (n=80), with specific focus on activities in which people in poverty are brought together to discuss experiences of injustice and on activities aimed at influencing the public debate. With the aim of deepening the understanding of these observations, 27 semi-structured interviews with persons linked to the five organizations took place; individual interviews with practitioners and group interviews with participants, volunteers and local policy-makers. In our analysis of how social work practitioners shape such a ‘politics of representation’, the complexity of the direct participation of people in poverty became very tangible. While trying to deal with this complexity, our evidence reveals that two different roles for practitioners can be distinguished: ‘the practitioner as a guardian of collective and transformative elements’; and ‘the practitioner as a strategical chess player’. As our findings uncover that the direct participation of people in poverty in social policy-making also can have counterproductive effects, we suggest that there is a need for practitioners who are able to reflect critically on such participatory premises and practices and estimate whether these contribute to societal change, or if other strategies need to be considered. However, from the social justice ideal of parity of participation, such strategic considerations should always be collaboratively discussed with people in poverty.
Teaching Refugee Children - a Research-Based Educational Theory Abstract for Tissa Pre-PhD Conference 2018 Kornelia Kraglund Europe has received an increasing amount of refugees in recent years and European primary schools has welcomed a significant number of pupils with refugee background. In research refugee children are often equated with bilingual children, which emphasizes language difficulties but this apprehension does not embrace the complexity of the accumulative difficulties of refugee children in terms of traumas, second traumas, and limited or no schooling (Medeenhall, Bartlett, & Ghaffer-Kucher, 2016; Montgomery, 2000, 2016; Nasiroglu & Ceri, 2015). Limited schooling or no schooling consists of both lingual as well as cultural barriers (Miller, Mitchell, & Brown, 2005) and trauma and loss increases the risk of learning and psychosocial difficulties (Lustig et al., 2004). The concept of teaching bilingual children therefore does not meet the educational needs of refugee children. This PhD project aims to address the learning and the psychosocial needs of refugee children in primary school. The purpose of the PhD project is to identify the best educational practices related to learning outcome and well-being of refugee children and it will result in an Educational Theory that enables teachers and educators to improve learning outcome, educational and equal opportunities of refugee children. The project draws on a mixed methods design (Bazeley, 2017; Greene, 2007). The data collection consists of a quantitative part as well as a qualitative part. The quantitative part consists of data from learning outcome tests (national tests), well-being tests and questionnaires. The questionnaires are collected from teachers in 0-3 grade in primary schools. It is expected that data collection will involve min. 200 refugee pupils. The questionnaires aim to quantify teachers’ and educators’ experiences, competencies and educational practice. In addition, questionnaires will be targeted at the parents with the purpose of unfolding the background of the involved refugee children. The well-being of the refugee children will be determined by the use of SDQ, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (Goodman, 1999) completed by teachers and parents and a well-being scheme completed by the children themselves. Data from existing learning tests, well-being questionnaires and SDQ will be juxtaposed with the experiences, competencies and the educational practice of teachers and educators. In the qualitative data collection, three types of teaching settings for refugee children are selected; Schools are selected based on the results from the quantitative data collection and based on the socio-economical reference. The qualitative data collection consists of ethnographic classroom observations and interviews in three educational settings with the purpose of exploring the educational practice as well as identifying intentional educational reflections and understandings of teachers and educators related to their educational practice. In addition, refugee children and their parents will be interviewed in order to capture school experiences and perspectives in relation to the educational practice. Question for supervisory panel How can I strengthen the design of the PhD project and how can I qualify the analysis in an integrating analysis?
Background: In the US and internationally Neoliberal policies, designed to redistribute income upwards and downsize the state, have restructured the social services in ways that negatively affect agencies, practitioners, and clients. Yet few have studied the impact of these polices on the experience of front-line workers and the capacity of agencies to provide high quality care. To fill this gap, The Human Service Workforce Survey: Your Voice is Needed examined how privatization, a well-known Neoliberal strategy, has affected work on the front lines. Based on the literature and surveys completed by 2500 NYC workers, this paper (1) describes three overlapping historical stages of privatization as manifested within social service organizations (i.e. marketization, managerialism, and financialization) but until now not analyzed as a single trend; and (2) reports on practitioners' experiences with "Managerialism," the current stage of privatization. Managerialism, the focus of this study, is associated with the ideas of New Public Management (NPM). Driven by market principles, Managerialism imports market philosophies and business principles into social service organizations. It assumes that public and non-profit agencies should be run as a business with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, routinization and measurable outcomes. Just when high rates of poverty and unemployment increased the demand for services, austerity-driven budget cuts ask agencies to do "more with less" leading to program closures, staff cuts, workforce deskilling along with greater focus on both individual responsibility, punishment, and competition for clients, funds, and market share. Methods: An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to NYC human service workers in collaboration with six social service/labor partners. The survey asked respondents to assess the impact of NPM policies and procedures on practice, service provision, working conditions and worker well-being. A bivariate/multivariate analysis was performed using SPSS. Results: Of 2468 survey respondents representing a wide range of service settings 64% worked in non-profit agencies and 26% in the public sector; 48% front line workers, 54% MSWs, 30% unionized; 83% women, 47% persons-of-color, 27% foreign -born Based on 30 NPM policies, from 53% to 88% of the respondents found Managerial practices to be highly problematic. That is, standardization, reduced discretion, and other compromises with the Managerial drive for efficiency, accountability and quantification undermined professional autonomy, comprehensive services, the quality of client-worker relationships, workplace solidarity, and other social work foundations. Many workers resisted these practices by actively bending the rules. These outcomes were more prevalent in agencies with business trained rather than a social work director and in those with a high rather than a low commitment to Mangerialism. Discussion. NYC workers tasked with providing responsive and effective social services, report that the "logic of the market" based on austerity., commodification of human relationships, and promoting private interests conflicts with the "logic of social work "that prioritizes meeting needs, the actualization of human well-being, and securing the common good. These findings provide social work with evidence needed to enter this contested policy debate. The profession ignores this wake-up call and the need for social action at its own risk .
Rationale Since the mid-1970s, neoliberal economic policies have led to profound changes in the provision of social services in the United States. These policies have focused on decreasing the size and scope of the federal government through overlapping strategies, including privatization, commodification, and competition. Efforts to apply neoliberal policies to the not-for-profit sector have resulted in a market-driven approach in human service organizations. This approach, known as managerialism, is characterized by hierarchical organizational structures, reliance on quantitative measurement tools to standardize accountability and reduce social worker’s discretion, and contract-based financing. Building upon data from Abramovitz and Zelnick’s Human Service Workforce Study (2015), this qualitative study analyzes the effects of managerialism on workers at domestic violence (DV) agencies in the greater New York City area. DV agencies, borne from the feminist movement of the 1960s, were founded on liberation principles of empowerment, collectivism, and a desire to end patriarchal social structures. As DV shelters expanded, they became entrenched and dependent upon the dominant ideology of neoliberalism. Methods Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with social workers working at DV agencies. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded. Template analysis was used for data analysis, allowing an iterative process of coding and recoding according to themes gleaned from the interviews. Key Findings Agency Structure: Respondents reported that their agencies were no longer run by those with social service backgrounds; this resulted in a perceived devaluing of clinical work/therapeutic relationship central to social work. A lack of clinical supervision and a lack of worker autonomy were reported by all respondents. Accountability: Respondents reported a substantive uptick in the amount of documentation required and the amount of time spent on documenting their work, taking critical time away from their clinical responsibilities. Additionally, workers reported that the required measurement often didn’t reflect or capture the work that was done. Many noted that certain expected outcome measurements were unachievable or detrimental to the process. Access to client files by funders presented ethical issues. Cost-effectiveness/efficiency: Agency workers reported multiple money-saving strategies, resulting in higher caseloads, staff burnout, flat salaries, and employee turnover. Workers report lacking basic supplies, working in overcrowded offices with little privacy, lack of overtime, and no time or resources devoted to skills training. Implications Managerialism does not seem to have achieved its intended purpose: it isn’t cost effective, it doesn’t streamline work, and demands for accountability prevent workers from doing their jobs. Workers report increased stress and decreased wellbeing. Nonetheless, workers report high levels of job satisfaction; it appears that agency mission is a protective factor. In the policy arena, social workers need to critically examine how managerialism is affecting the profession. Organizations need to focus on better ways to support their workers. In the U.S., it is time to examine the assumptions behind contract-based financing for social service agencies. Politically, this is a wake-up call for social workers, especially those engaged in feminist practice. Workers struggle to maintain their commitment to social justice in the face of neoliberal hegemony.
Introduction to research questions: The goal of the INTERREG 2-Seas project PACE (Providing Access to Childcare and Employment), a collaboration between twelve partners in four European countries (UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France) is to improve access to childcare and work for vulnerable families. A social worker outreaches to families from within a childcare or community centre and helps them overcoming structural and organisational barriers to childcare and work. In this project, we see clearly that the self-responsibility perspective of policy makers and organisations is not in line with the daily realities of families. In the first year of the project, we explored the parents’ perspectives on childcare and work and investigated to what extent policy and organisational procedures actually contribute to parents’ struggle to combine childcare and work, instead of facilitating the combination. Methods: 157 parents from the project target group (i.e. parents in unemployment or in-work poverty with low or no access to childcare) were interviewed in the four PACE countries. Parents were interviewed about their aspirations and barriers with regard to childcare and work. Two researchers analysed the interviews using thematic coding. In addition, a case study including observation, interviews and an analysis of policy documents was performed in nine project settings. These case studies gave us an idea on how and from which perspective the settings work with parents in increasing access to childcare and work. Results: The results indicate that the majority of parents wants to return to employment, but is confronted with multiple barriers. Finding child care adapted to working hours, or, vice versa, finding work adapted to child care hours is the main challenge for these parents. Other barriers towards employment include low self-esteem, low perceived personal skills and language and mobility barriers. Barriers to child care vary from country to country but often include structural barriers such as availability and affordability, but also informal barriers such as trust. From the case studies in organisations, we learn that procedures and policies, including the vision of the organisation (e.g. “occasional childcare is not good for the child’s wellbeing”) raise additional thresholds for parents. Discussion and implications: European policy proclaims that child care should be accessible to all children, regardless of their parents’ employment status. They also state that early childhood services are especially important for children from vulnerable families. The current research confirms the existing literature in finding that childcare remains a main barrier for employment for vulnerable families and vice versa (e.g. in the UK free childcare is available only when parents work). What we contribute to the existing literature is the finding that although policy makers and organisations tend to ‘blame the parents’ for not working, they actually raise many thresholds themselves, making it impossible for parents with young children to combine the role of parent and employer on a daily basis. We see that there is a focus on procedures and regulations, also in intersectoral collaboration, instead of a real focus on families.
Creating a close relationship with people who suffer can have a positive and/or negative influence on the expert’s professional and personal life. Social workers provide support and assistance to clients in a variety of potentially stressful work environments. Social Work consists in creating empathetic helping relationships with people who go through difficult circumstances in order to help them solve or improve their situation. Compassion Fatigue (CF) is the negative aspect of helping (Figley, 1985) those who experience stress, pain suffering, discomfort or trauma. CF is also called “cost of caring”. In contrast, helping those who suffer also has positive aspects such as Compassion Satisfaction (SC), the pleasure of helping. In Tissa 2017 I presented the framework about my investigation titled Analysis of the prevalence of compassion fatigue in social workers. This quantitative study is based on getting to know the level of CF experienced by social workers in Mallorca, the relationship with their levels of empathy, and finding out which type of activities contribute to prevent this CF. In this 16th Annual Plenum edition my aim is to introduce the results that prove a relation between the probability of suffering CF and the level of empathy, together with the age of the client and the nature of the client’s problem. Moreover, the results also reveal the fact that social workers are proud of their work in helping others, so the interesting conclusion here is that social workers, rather than having low FC levels, actually score high in SC levels. In this presentation, I will focus on the self-care culture in the social work area. I will describe how self-care can increase or decrease the FC levels and, as consequence, it contributes to both the client’s and the social worker’s well-being, and it also has a positive impact on the service. Self-care is understood as the composite of two dimensions: professional self-care and personal self-care. Professional self-care is defined as the process of purposeful engagement in practices that promote an appropriate use of the self in the professional role within the work context. Personal self-care is defined as a process of purposeful engagement in practices that promote holistic health and well-being (Lee & Miller, 2013). Social workers must be aware that caring for others is based on well-being with oneself. For this reason, the social worker should create personal mechanisms that encourage self-care depending on the stage in their life cycle and their preferences (for example workout, meditation, spend time with your family or friends, etc.) and, at the same time, the social service company must create and facilitate structures that support the profession (supervision, suitable number of cases for social worker, training, etc.). In this conference I will present a ranking of the more frequent self-care activities that social workers in Mallorca do and the institutional support that the social service companies offer, and their effects on the CF.
There are many models of intervention that have influenced Social Work since its beginning; structural, strategic, experiential and intergenerational models, among others. The position adopted by a professional in front of a person, family, group or community is determined by the knowledge and strategies based on one or another theoretical framework and will characterize the analysis and the intervention carried out by the social worker. At the same time, the type of intervention chosen is determined by the by the social worker’s experience, emotions and beliefs in the environment (Vega, 1997) in which the practice is carried out (Maiquez & Capote, 2001), and the context of intervention (Cardona, 2017). In the 1980s, the social worker Michael White and the anthropologist David Epston, with a postmodern and poststructuralist vision, developed the model of narrative therapy that claims to be a worldwide view, to understand society as a whole. This narrative approach is based on the idea that people build their identity based on their experiences and are influenced by society and culture. There are some narrative practices which fit perfectly with family and community social work. The tree of life (Ncube & Denborough, 2006), as an exercise in self-knowledge and exploration of the person or group; externalizing (White, 1991; White & Epston, 1993) to isolate the problem of the person; the alternative story, that is, how to deconstruct a dominant story to co-construct a new one based on its values and its competences that empower the person or group to work towards the future. All of them are practices that can be easily incorporated into the methodological practice of social work and provide many benefits. Among them, it allows for a respectful and non-blaming approach towards the person; it empowers people, families, groups and communities, placing them as experts in their lives; it works with the sense of the person’s identity and not from a symptom perspective; a positive vision of the future is co-constructed with hopes, capacities, commitments, dreams and values to solve the difficulties (Morgan, 2011); the problems are dealt with from a cultural point of view and not individual; the existing relationships between the problem and cultural concepts such as machismo, perfectionism, individualism, patriarchal society, competitiveness among others are analysed; the professional is not the responsible for the success of the intervention, but is a mere companion in the process of the person, family, group or community; it makes us aware of the social context and therefore provides a solidarity vision; the moments in which the problem has no influence on the life of the person are revalued, showing the "isolated achievements", discovering the person’s other identities in which the problem is not found. This presentation aims at showing an approximation of narrative practices to family and community social work, discovering its benefits for society.
Families in special distress, or multi-stressed families, are usually engaged in chronic relations with many different personal services at the same time, such as social services, school, health system, mental health system, etc. This chronicity can generate feelings of despair, loss of hope, loss of connection, and so on, not only in the family members, but also in the professionals that are interacting with them. This is called “coalition of despair” (Sharlin & Shamai, 2000). Engaging in a collaborative framework with these families and all the larger systems involved is a challenge for social workers in Spain, for many reasons. First of all, the medical model is embedded in most social work interventions, even when professionals believe in the benefits of using a post-modern approach (Sousa y Costa, 2010). These interferences hinder the adoption of a real collaborative stance, and increase the possibilities of shaming or blaming the family members. Secondly, most documents that show evidences of successful interventions from this collaborative point of view are written in English, and just few of them are translated into Spanish. The aim of my Phd is to determine to which extent social workers in Mallorca are developing a collaborative framework with families in special distress. My sample is composed by social workers that are working at public social services in Mallorca (Spain), that intervene with families in special distress delivering non-specialized services (information, orientation, social inclusion, etc.). I am especially interested in finding out if there are differences between their opinion about the collaborative framework (level of importance) and their effective realisation in their agencies. I have designed a 67-item questionnaire about collaborative micro-practices (attitudes, relational stance, actions), and a 23-item socio-demographic questionnaire, to know if the conditions of their agencies are contributing or not to the development of a collaborative framework. Another instrument that I will use is a questionnaire carried out by Palenzuela et al. (1997), which measures locus of control, self-efficacy and success expectancies. My aim is to know whether there are or not correlations between those professionals that are developing (in their opinion) collaborative practices, and those who are rating higher in Palenzuela’s questionnaire. To sum up, in this research I am interested in studying if social workers in Mallorca are adopting collaborative practices with families in special distress, in order to find ways in which they could improve their procedures, to have more success with these families.
The aim is to present the methodology used in one practice session in the subject “Social Work with Multi-Problem Families” (6 ECTS), that takes place in 4th grade of Social Work at the University of Balearic Islands (UIB). The syllabus for this subject shows, among others, the following skills that students should achieve by the end of the course: capacity to establish professional relationships, isolating needs, problems, difficulties and conflicts, with the aim of identifying the most appropriate intervention. Families in special distress are a challenge for social workers, since relationships with these families are typically characterized by multi-assistance, successive crises, and chronicity (Sharlin & Shamai, 2000; Sousa, 2005; Tausendfreund, Knot-Dicksheit, Schulze, Knorth & Grietens, 2016). Multi-assistance brings about the need to undertake adequate methods of coordination among professionals in different agencies and disciplines, in order to ensure an integral intervention, avoiding duplicities and contradictory messages (Colapinto, 1995; Imber-Black, 2000; Madsen, 2007). On the other hand, Social Work students must acquire the skills required to address especially challenging situations, since in their professional future they will have to coordinate interventions with other professionals from various fields, with all the difficulties involved. For that reason, this subject combines theory and practice classes. In the latter case, by means of role play activities, students can deal with hypothetical situations, where they practice and reflect on the different strategies that might improve their professional skills. In today’s session, we are going to focus on a role play exercise in which an inter-disciplinary network meeting takes place (based on a real case that is reviewed throughout the course). The aim of the meeting is to establish a conjoint plan of action of all the professionals concerned. Students develop strategies to neutralize situations that are likely to hinder a successful process. Thus, they face different situations and discuss the strategies that should be implemented. With this method, students can carry out a practical study with various situations that they will certainly deal with in their professional future. For example, people who are late for meetings, people who don’t listen or try to impose their vision upon a situation, and so on. Therefore, students have the chance to put into practice the different strategies in a dynamic way (even amusing), enabling the acquisition of the skills laid down in the course description.
Situated at the crossroads of arts, social work and pedagogy, this PhD explores the role of participatory arts practices in a changing urban society. From its beginning in the 19th century, European social-cultural work has focused on the urban context. Through the fundamental changes in cities, caused by the first Industrial Revolution, ensuring social cohesion became a so-called “pedagogical project” in which various social-cultural interventions (e.g. libraries, theater groups, poor relief, youth work) were set up to help individuals find their place in society by adjusting them to a shared set of values and norms. Until the early 1960s, this consensus model constituted a fairly stable ground for the ‘urban community’. However, over the past decades, globalisation has given a major boost to processes of migration and pluralisation. These processes have changed cities thoroughly, as over half of the world’s population now lives in dense contexts, characterized by a superdiversity never seen before. As a result, the foundations of living together have come under serious pressure. With the emergence of superdiverse cities, the co-presence of different social and cultural groups has created new perspectives on living together to which the consensus model upon which traditional social-cultural interventions had been based is no longer able to respond. As a response, new attempts to deal with this increasing diversity have arisen from the work of artists. Relying on urban theory as well as political activism, these artists have engaged critically with the social complexities of everyday urban life. One of the recent interventions that have become widely deployed in this vein and which explicitly recognize a plurality of norms and values, are participatory arts practices. Whereas current debates on urban living are often framed in terms of a ‘loss of community’, critical scholars recently argue that participatory art opens up possibilities for new forms of urban living beyond this collective ideal of we-ness. As a result, participatory arts practices are increasingly considered as social laboratories in which practitioners challenge both city inhabitants and users to develop new forms of living together. Yet, despite the growing popularity of these practices, academic research on participatory art suffers from two interrelated shortcomings. First, the debate on participatory arts practices in relation to new forms of urban living, largely remains a conceptual one. Second, based upon this conceptual discussion ambitious social and political claims are made, while empirical insight into how these new forms of urban living concretely turn up is missing. Based on a multiple-case study in Brussels, combining methods of in-depth interviews and participant observation, this PhD aims to address this knowledge gap and to open up the black box of the actual contributions of participatory art in relation to urban living. In my presentation I will present some preliminary findings of a first part of my research in which I try to disentangle (i) how and by whom participatory arts practices were assigned this pedagogical role and (ii) why these practices are supposed to deliver valuable reference frameworks in a changing urban context.
As part of the ongoing transformation of the former welfare arrangements, a “shadow of the welfare state(s)” is arising: e.g. in the shape of a new system for the distribution of surplus basic goods to those in need. That “new charity economy” is providing support via food aid, soup kitchens, charity clothes shops or thrift stores. But in the shadow of the welfare state not only the new “charity economy” is established in the last 20 -25 years in Europe. We can also identify new (international) caring regimes or de-institutionalised structures of aid for refugees, as part of that development. All those “services” in the shadow of welfare can be characterised even threefold: they are undermining formal social rights, even if those rights officially exist furthermore; they are changing the delivery process of social services fundamentally; and, in contrast to popular descriptions, they are not an alternative, but directly related to the institutionalised and professionalised welfare services. To understand the growing opacity of the former idea of welfare solidarity, we do have to understand the process of the ongoing transformation of welfare states as accurately as possible. The formation of the shadow of welfare is a major part of that transformational process. On the back of such an understanding we can illuminate ways for leaving the shadow hopefully again. So, the paper is finally asking, how we could come a step further to the necessary “future of (post-)welfarism”.
Abstract During the last few decades, social development principles and practices have emerged in social work, resulting in an exciting and fast-moving field of research in the international realm. Since social work practitioners have been confronted with new global challenges, including worldwide economic recession, heightened inequality, extensive migratory movements, increased pandemics, natural catastrophes, new forms of conflicts and imbalanced regional developments, this results in a pertinent interest in social development. In this presentation, we focus on China as an extremely relevant, topical and emblematic case to explore the appropriateness of the social development principle and perspective to underpin social work interventions that are responsive to local issues. China has experienced a rapid socio-economic development which results in complicated social challenges of which one prominent challenge is the imbalanced development between urban and rural areas. On the other hand, as a geological hazard-prone area, China provides vital examples of how social work is required to respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes. In that vein we argue that the social development principle and perspective might have transformative potential to underpin the development of social work in China, and more particularly in rural China. In our presentation, we first situate how the emergence of social work is to be considered as a recent development in China. Second, we try to tease out on which conditions social development can offer such a perspective for the development of a social work practice that contributes to addressing social issues in rural China, and explore the relevance of the concept of developmental social work. Third, we explain our research methodology. It is based on a systematic literature review of the existing body of (Chinese) social work research literature on this topic. Fourth, we discuss our research findings. Finally, we raise some vital concluding reflections. Keywords: social work, social development, China, disaster social work, community development
The topic of women’s agency is commonly debated in relation to domestic violence including sexual violence towards women. However, women’s agency associated with non-abusing mothers whose children have been sexually abused out of family environment has not been sufficiently investigated. This article presents findings of a qualitative study of the lived experiences of eight non-abusing mothers in Turkish Cypriot Community whose child has been sexually abused by someone outside the family. The narratives of the women were gathered via in-depth interviews and data was analysed utilising Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings show that social structures deeply affect the non-abusing mothers’ agency when it comes to reflecting their voice in relation to child sexual abuse disclosure. This article demonstrates how non-abusing mothers of sexually abused children reflect on their own agency in relation to social structures such as patriarchal power structures. Further results will be presented in the conference once the analysis process is completed.
Within the infrastructure of contemporary welfare states, systematic collaboration across professional and organizational boundaries is far and wide considered as being deficient; at the same time, governments and experts refer to it as a silver bullet for overcoming the fragmentation human service systems. At the same time, and at a global scale, social work and other professions involved in human servive provision have seen movements towards the managerial formalization of interorganizational boundaries (Bode et al. 2016), with this affecting professional endeavor not only in social work itself, but also in neighboring sectors such as healthcare and early childcare (Bode 2012). This paper explores reactions to this movement in the German child protection sector. Like in other nations, this sector has a remit to both spot and shelter endangered children, as well as to organize ‘curative’ interventions in their life worlds, that is, families. Although there is kind of a local hub agency responsible for steering these interventions, the sector’s architecture proves particularly multifaceted in Germany’s mixed economy of welfare. Moreover, child protection is a field where interorganizational collaboration is required constantly, given the character of the social problem to be dealt with (Bode & Turba 2014). Based on interview-based case studies conducted in five local settings, the paper looks at current barriers to interorganizational solidarity in the fields under study through the lens of theories dealing with technologies of government (governmentality; neo-bureaucracy; political symbolism). It appears that the managerial steering of interorganizational collaboration, connecting with both strong symbolic policies and neo-bureaucratic ‘coopetition’, makes many stakeholders adopt a work-to-rule mentality while impeding sustainable exchange and the development of common perspectives across the involved professions and instances. As a remedy, it could be helpful to establish local fora that bring together actors from different organizations of a given human service system and make them discover, in an open space without institutional enforcement, common challenges and shared dilemmas in the encounter with a managerialized welfare state. Bode, I. (2012), Managerialismus gegen Kindeswohlgefährdung? Zum Phänomen berechnender Steuerung in einem unberechenbaren Organisationsfeld (Managerialism against child endangerment. A ‚calculating’ governance in an uncalculable organisational field), in: Bastian, P. et al., Rationalitäten des Kinderschutzes. Wiesbaden: VS, 175-201 Bode, I., & H. Turba (2014), Kinderschutz zwischen Kooperation und Konkurrenz (Child protection between collaboration and competition), in Soziale Arbeit (63) 12, 456-462 Bode, I., J. Breimo, O. Firbank, J. T. Sandvin & H Turba (2016), Networking on the Ground – Exploring the interplay between regulatory provisions and collaborative dynamics in child welfare and protection across three jurisdictions. ARIMA working paper, Montréal
The Institute for Educational Science of the University of Münster executes the research project “Protection concepts and pedagogical practice – discourse analytic perspectives on the prevention of sexual violence in residential child and youth care institutions” which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The aim is to trace the relation between protection concepts and pedagogical practice. This relation is not considered to be hierarchical in the first place – in fact, the dimensions represent two levels of professional practice each with their own way of forming the prevention of sexual violence. From this point of view, it is not only a question of if or why protection concepts appear in pedagogical practice, but rather of how they do. Thus, the analysis concentrates on potential similarities, transformations, paradoxes, oppositions and interdependencies between both levels of practice. With this double focus in mind, a discourse analytic method (figure analysis) is used to analyze the interaction between pedagogical practice and its contexts based on discursive practices. The sampling consists of two groups in three residential child and youth care institutions in order to take a differentiated look at the way the prevention of sexual violence is formed. In addition, three empirical approaches are used to generate the set of data: Besides the collection of protection concepts, ethnographic field explorations as well as group discussions are executed in the participating groups and institutions. Based on the generated data the discursive practices will be operationalized empirically with the figure analysis, which allows to trace how both meanings and objects of speech are used and formed plus subjects are positioned with the help of discursive (i.e. narrative, differential, argumentative, metaphorical or conceptual) figures. Regarding the topic of the project, this method promises a broad insight into the patterns of forming and dealing with the prevention of sexual violence as well as the positioning of the actors involved. In order to make the results usable for pedagogical practice, the project provides different transfer strategies.
Elders in rural Uganda, and in particular elderly women, endure poor and vulnerable living conditions. In an extreme adverse context characterized by amongst others extreme poverty and the absence of government policies, collective action is seen as an opportunity to enhance individual’s wellbeing in ways that neither the state nor markets provide for. However, research in Sub-Saharan Africa has seldom looked into how double burden factors such as age and gender affect the capabilities, opportunities and participation of elderly women in households and the public sphere. Hence, this study asks in what way and why elderly women engage in collective action and explores its implications for their capabilities to shape their lives and participate in their local communities. Fieldwork was carried out in South-East Uganda from August 2017 till November 2017, employing qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews with elderly women, husbands and local political leaders, focus groups and participatory observations. This study finds that, first, being involved in a group allows elderly women to cooperatively engage in a series of activities that provide coping mechanisms against their most pressing needs. These mechanisms subsequently increase individual livelihood security and fill a gap in household support not provided by governmental institutions. Second, this study reveals that, over time, women involved in collective action have become aware of the need to improve their precarious living conditions by demanding structural change from the Ugandan government. Therefore elderly women are using collective action to influence local institutions and the Ugandan government’s position towards the elders. From these findings, this research concludes that collective action provides a pathway for elderly women to have their voices heard and to exercise influence on local institutions. However, due to the scalar limitations of their cooperative efforts, which are reinforced by an extreme adverse context, their impact on the recognition of the human rights of the elders remains limited. The findings note the need to develop policies and social interventions that better support elderly women in their claims to social and political citizenship. Key words: Collective Action, Capabilities Approach, Human Rights, Gender/Age Equality, Uganda This research has been carried out for the Research Master International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam
In Germany, parental education is a field of social work with a long tradition, which acts at the interface between child and youth welfare as well as adult education. In recent years, the orientation towards social space became quite prominent also in this area of social work. Thus, numerous inclusive group-offers of parental education were developed. They aim to be open for all parents (of all ages) and follow a broad understanding of family by addressing various members of the family. Furthermore, these universal offers are not oriented towards deficits or problems that have to be solved. Thus, they aim to be resource-oriented and also have the purpose to initiate social integration. In the past, open meeting points were extended and developed, which offer low-threshold possibilities to get professional assistance as well as to get in contact with other families. Although they aim to reach every family, adolescent parents use those offers rather seldom (e.g. Chamakalayil 2010). Referring to the theoretical concept of life-world orientation (Thiersch 1995), which at least in the German-speaking context serves as a rather ‘traditional’ paradigm for orientation of social work in general, it can be asked if those universal offers of parental are custom-fit support for the ‘target group’ of adolescent parents. To exemplify the intertwining of the actual lifeworld of adolescent parents with offers of parental education, the results of a qualitative empirical study will be presented in this paper. To analyse the reasons for (not) using offers of parental education as well as the life-world relatedness of these offers for adolescent parents, different perspectives and methods were examined: interviews (Witzel 2000; Bogner/Menz 2009) and focus groups (Schulz et al. 2012) were conducted with adolescent parents (n=16) as well as professionals (n=16). The study – using Grounded Theory methods (Strauss/Corbin 1996) – results in a paradigm to explain the usage behaviour of offers of parental education by adolescent parents. A central phenomenon, examined by analysing data, is the ambition to connect with other parents and to exchange experiences. At this junction, analysis shows the importance of the social support system of the adolescents and especially the quality of support by other parents as well as same-aged peers. Further conditions, which influence the appearance of this ambition, are strongly connected with the general self-perception. These are the perception of activity/passivity as well as the self-perception and-presentation as a parent. Depending on how the various conditions are arranged, the (not-)usage-behaviour of offers of parental education as a strategy to deal with the phenomenon differs. Additionally, the field of tension between autonomy and heteronomy contextualises the life situation and behaviour of the adolescents. By using this paradigm, it should be discussed what ‘life-world orientation’ means in the case of parental education for adolescent parents.
This paper examines the likelihood of a downgrade in pay and professional status for people with a disability receiving job placement assistance as part of the Swiss disability benefit system. It is based on interviews and comments from around fifteen placement professionals and a few managers from the cantonal offices responsible for implementing this disability benefit scheme. We show that a downgrade can be produced by the disability insurance system itself, in particular by the idea that employers should not take any financial risks when they hire a person with a disability. The expression "win-win", used frequently by the disability benefit system in its discourse (legal bases, websites, management reports) is a clear reflection of its guiding principle, according to which everyone is supposedly a winner in the process of integrating people into the labour market. The benefit recipient finds work and the employer incurs no financial risk or limits the risk, and even obtains a return on investment because of the contribution the person makes to the company (motivated employee, good atmosphere in the workplace, etc.). Downgrading is all the more likely when the placement professional does not have to worry about the quality of the work, beyond its compatibility with the impaired health of the benefit recipient (productivity, hours of work, etc.). Furthermore, placement professionals are employed primarily for their ability to “sell" workers with a disability, and not for any skills or training in social work. Starting from this analysis, we suggest areas for action to reduce the likelihood of people with a disability being downgraded. First of all, the Swiss policy on disability should recognise that people with disabilities have an equal right to work, and to just and favourable conditions of work, as stated in article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, recruiting placement professionals from the field of social work can be a factor that promotes a social rather than an economic approach to integrating these people into the labour market. This is because social workers should be trained to adopt a social approach. Basing their work on this approach, they could exert a greater influence on employer behaviour – from the recruitment phase through to employment and long-term integration into the organisation – and thus create the beginnings of a new balance between the work offered and the situation of benefit recipients, who are at a disadvantage in the labour market. We do not view the economic system and employers' criteria as being fixed, but as a system of social interactions that allows some leeway within the decision-making process. Given this view, the proposal that emerges from a social solidarity approach (an approach that might provide greater political guidance to social workers) is to influence employers in order to create a fairer and more inclusive economy.
For the last 13 years, our non-profit organisation Caritas Valais has been commissioned by the canton of Valais (Switzerland) to provide services related to the issue of debt. Overindebtedness is not a situation that happens overnight. It is a long process, which may have multiple causes, such as divorce, illness, loss of employment, or addiction. The common factor is a person's difficulty in managing a budget that is in keeping with their income. We find that consumer credit is involved in almost half of all cases. The average level of debt per person is 50,000 euros, not including any mortgage debt. Income tax heads the list of unpaid bills. Being in debt means that the people concerned are constantly receiving reminders from creditors, perhaps have deductions made from their salary, and experience difficulties in finding accommodation or a job, which can lead to social exclusion. Caritas Valais takes four types of action in relation to this issue. First of all, upstream, we go to vocational training institutions to raise awareness among young people, who will be entering the world of work and will be approached by credit institutions as soon as they receive their first salary payment. Secondly, we offer personal appointments to almost a thousand people every year. With each individual, we produce a map of their current financial situation and help them to draw up a budget. Thirdly, if clearing all debt and remaining debt-free in the long term seems feasible, we start to negotiate with all the creditors. Fourthly, we take action publicly, or via various political channels, so that overindebtedness is not allowed to remain the responsibility of the individual alone, but is a matter for society as a whole. On this last point, Caritas Valais works with other private organisations to regularly remind politicians at cantonal and national level of the effects of overindebtedness on society. We have achieved some positive results, such as the reduction of the maximum rate of interest on small loans from 15% to 10%. We have had similar success with our opposition to some of the more aggressive advertisements from institutions offering small loans, which has led to the introduction of a law. We are now trying to get the message across to politicians about the deduction of income tax directly from salaries, as happens in some European countries. To conclude, it appears that easy access to small loans enables a high level of consumption to be maintained, and is, for this reason, actually encouraged by the economy and by policies in western countries. Although many people are able to manage small loans very well in the short term, the vagaries of life mean that this may not be the case in the long term. In a nutshell, there are limits to the responsibility of the individual in this area: a significant proportion of the responsibility lies with governments and other stakeholders, on whom Caritas Valais is trying to act.
Personalised Budget Schemes Policies are an example of the international trend in welfare states towards a more individual and personal care pathway for people with disabilities. A range of research-insights show how the systems function in practice, what the possible outcomes of personal budget schemes are and uncover the experiences with these schemes. However, the way in which this is put into practice and the ways in which support is provided has been less often subject of research. This qualitative study, based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with 31 stakeholders in England, the Netherlands and Germany, contributes to this knowledge gap. By shedding light on the grips that frontline-workers as 'street-level bureaucrats' use and why they are being developed during the application-, indication- and allocation process within these three systems. The analysis reveals a construction of an 'ideal client' as a condition, which functions as the main criterion in a judgement of competence. In addition, systemic peculiarities of the personal budget schemes also provide space for frontline workers to position themselves and creates a context of 'coincidentiality'. We can state that the right to a personal budget is often translated into a conditioned right and a form of care and support that is subjected to many coincidences in practice. Frontline workers in this study often see their new role and responsibilities rather as an unsolicited responsibility within which they meet the client when articulating the demand for a personal budget as a well-considered choice. It turns out that for those people in need of support the most, the more complex and time-consuming option of a personal budget is often problematised by our fronline-workers. In this way, the installation of conditionality creates a context in which inequality between users' possibilities for meaningful support remains unexplored. A decade after pilot projects and the consolidation of personal budget schemes as a well-established form of care delivery, a sense of powerlessness concerning their repertoire of conduct remains a key issue for social workers. Therefore, this contribution highlights the importance of support for practitioners to overcome their sense of powerlessness, enable them to express their concerns and develop strategies in partnership with other stakeholders.
Within the social work education and practice in Austria, Germany and Switzerland the Case Management (CM), a social work method developed originally in the US, is vividly discussed and somewhat implemented as an alternative concept to include a large number of refugees and displaces persons who arrived since 2014. In this presentation, comprehensive analysis (Klassen 2015, 2016, 2017) based on the comparisons of human needs and capabilities of refugees and their integration in Germany will be combined with the principals of Case Management. The results of these analyses have led to the intended research project INCoMINg which will be presented in this paper. The goal of INCoMINg is the digitally supported inclusion of young refugees and migrants into the systems of education and work. The implementation is carried out by means of a innovative implementation of Case Management in the form of interactive system solutions that should be also accessible via smartphones. The subject of the project is therefore the development and evaluation of an interactive CM concept as a web- or app-based self-help tool. The familiarity with smartphones in the target group promises a high relevance and a high transfer potential of the project results for the practice. The professional content of the solution will be developed in the social work team of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences. The Faculty of Media Management in Wiesbaden will take over the conception of the technical solution up to the high-fidelity prototype. External interdisciplinary cooperation partners are various social work institutions in Germany. In this research project especially the ideas of the Capabilities Approach as developed by Sen (2000) and Nussbaum (2006) will be integrated.
I intend to look at where social work is now, as a science and as an academic discipline. I will come out from an approach that talks about several models of social work, based on various paradigms. On this basis, I will ask myself, what can the modern doctrine of social work get from phenomenology and derived sociological applications, called constructivism, constructivism, and the like. And what are the limits of the social constructivist model of social work.
The current situation supports the view of a divide in society. Racism is on the increase and the right wing is progressively establishing itself. This makes clear that democracy is under threat and raises the perennial question of where and how democratic citizenship education can succeed. The preliminary assumption in the question posed is that democracy must be actively learned by doing. Along with Dewey and Tocqueville this can and should be achieved by means of implementation of fundamental democratic practices – that is essentially the right to co-decide - in associations and communities. As Almond and Verba have shown in their study “The Civic Culture”, association members are able to make better political decisions which can be developed and practiced within the scope of membership of the clubs. In response to the divide in society associative practices become more important and children and young people should be specially targeted. If the role of associations in the democratic society is taken seriously, it should be asked how community clubs determine and facilitate the future democratic discourse within this field of democratic clubs. This will be part of the planned dissertation project. Situated in the field of Social Pedagogy, this presentation of the PhD project continues to follow the tradition of the theoretical concepts by Prof. Dr. Helmut Richter - an educational scientist from Hamburg - concerning education in clubs as well as community education (Kommunalpädagogik) and the methodical approach to action break research (Handlungspausenforschung). Helmut Richter believes that sports clubs have the best possible opportunities to offer young people democratic citizenship education. Using the example of British football clubs in the field of “Community Owned Sports Clubs”, the presentation shows an overview of the current research findings on democratic citizenship education in the football sector under the influence of commercialization. Examples like FC United of Manchester, Exeter City FC or Lewes FC show the possibilities, but also the difficulties of anti-commercial club schemes. The Manchester based researcher Dr. Adam Brown believes that this clubs will help to increase the amount of community engagement by sports clubs, generating significant participation in schemes and wide ranging benefits in key agendas of education and social inclusion. Brown and the umbrella organisation “Supporters Direct” are of the opinion that community ownership of sports clubs can also assist community cohesion and increase local democratic participation. In addition, most of the “Community Owned Sports Clubs” act as voluntary and private sector children’s or youth work agencies. On the other hand the takeover of former community club Portsmouth FC by ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner clearly and unmistakably points out the boundaries of the model. This leads us to the main question, whether is democratic citizenship education possible under the influence of commercialisation in sports clubs. In seeking to give a deeper impression of the research, first activities shall be pinpointed.
One key element in practices defined by complexity and uncertainty is reflection. However, the increased governance of the public sector and welfare state appears to be affecting its concerned practices, with social work being one example. One result is the increased focus and implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP). However, argued to reduce resources for reflective practice and relationship-based ways of working, degrading proven experience, intuition and tacit knowledge, the implementation of EBP in social work is by many considered problematic. Advocates of EBP do, on the other hand, emphasize its importance for increasing quality within practices, reducing levels of risk and mistake-making, simultaneously offering possibilities for learning and development of both professionals and organizations. Simultaneously, little is known about the impact of evidence-based models on everyday practice and in relation to reflection. Thus, the aim of this study is to reach improved insight and knowledge into the matter of evidence-based models in family support social work. More specifically, the aim is to comprehend how reflection is understood and used by social workers trained in the evidence-based model Family Check-Up (FCU). For collecting data, social workers engaged in family support was invited to participate. Twelve focus group interviews (n = 40) were conducted: five with practitioners trained and active in FCU, and seven with practitioners without this model in their treatment-repertoire. The results indicate that reflection is considered a necessity, with participants deeming it impossible to conduct qualitative social work without reflection. The question was not whether to reflect or not, but rather how this best can be done given present time constraints, experiencing a decrease in resources for reflection. An increased level of administrative work, changed documentation and the experienced move from a “reflection-domain” towards a “production-domain” are examples of reasons for the decrease. It also became evident that reflective practice is structured in various ways, being both an individual and collective activity. Interestingly, FCU was identified as a principal driving force for reflection, offering both individual and collective reflection-opportunities. Its structure and various components was argued to promote, even assume, reflection. The results imply that the use of an evidence-based model can safeguard opportunities for reflective practice rather than, as many critics argue, limit the possibility for reflective understanding. Using FCU is thus one possible way to create space for both reflective social work and EBP. Based on previous research, reflection and EBP does not seem as different as the controversy suggest, rather sharing the shame objectives, important to consider when implementing EBP in practices. However, to take advantage of the benefits of FCU, sufficient time needs to be provided from the organization, further pointing at the importance of organizational readiness prior to implementing EBP.
Neoliberal deregulation of financial markets simplified credit lending policies to consumers in the last decades. Subsequently private household debts in relation to GDP have substantially increased across Western Europe and CEE [Central and Eastern Europe] since 2000 (Drometer/ Oesingmann 2015a: 60 ). Even if the phenomenon of indebtedness is much lower in CEE countries than in countries of the Western hemisphere, a rising number of population is in personal bankruptcy. Particularly non-EURO CEE countries are indebted in foreign currencies as they once have been lured by lower interest rates into Swiss Franc or EURO and thus submitted to a currency risk which finally played out a very detrimental effect. However not every European country has got a Private Insolvency Law and social debt counselling yet (Drometer/ Oesingmann 2015b: 82 ). Though social debt counselling could play a vital role for social protection. Using an integrated social work approach, it is able to offer much needed assistance and advice to over-indebted private households to find a way out. In Germany access to those supporting services is restricted to recipients of low incomes and/or social security benefits. In the last years the framework conditions have become more difficult: A combination of limited public funding and an increasing number of clients puts pressure on the existing infrastructure of social service assistance. Besides quantitative aspects, a research study (DISW 2017 ) additionaly provided empirical evidence of ‚qualitative challenges‘ of social debt counselling. Client’s debt histories tend to be more complex and longer-lasting, sometimes with ups and downs over decades. The study demonstrates that intervening with the appropriate assistance at an earlier moment of time can be hugely beneficial and reduce both: (1) monetary resources of public administration and the social insurance bodies as well as (2) non-monetary resources (e.g. health and well-being) for clients and their families. Based on empirical findings, the study indicates to put a stronger focus also on preventive social work (DISW 2017). In praxis the actual tender procedure of social debt counselling for Hamburg/ Germany includes a budget for preventional community activities from summer 2018 onward. This includes f.e. refunding of school events to make young people aware of smartphone contracts as debt traps. But besides this kind of primary behavioral prevention, structural prevention is necessary, too. Social associations (BAG Soziale Schuldnerberatung) favour to strengthen consumer protection law by ‚enforcing‘ cooperations between credit institutions and social debt counselling agencies in cases of excessive use of overdraft facilities (‚ausgeschöpfte Dispokredite‘). In praxis such cooperations are rare exceptions and indeed apparently far from being prescribed by law. As long as (over-) indebted clients remain humble bank customers, they contribute profits into banking institutions. No matter how they pay off their debts, their interest payments form a substantial and indispensable part of the banking business. It is therefore not surprising that measures of effective structural prevention will met with fierce resistance by strong neoliberal opponents.
Background: Researchers have argued that conceptualisations of poverty and anti-poverty strategies are never neutral but always constructed in context-specific ways in relation to historical, social, cultural and economic developments. Since the 1990s, the importance of recognising the voice and life knowledge of people in poverty is stressed within European welfare states, and the idea of treating people in poverty as subjects rather than objects of social policy and social work interventions came to prominence. In that sense, Beresford and Croft (1995) referred to the possibility of “a shift from advocacy to self-advocacy” in academic research, social policy and social work practice. Purpose: We aim to theorise the self-advocacy paradigm – as a radicalization of the ‘participation of the poor’ discourse - in social policy making. We rely on the conceptual framework of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière (1995, 1999, 2003), exploring the relevance of Rancière’s concepts of ‘police’, ‘politics’, ‘equality’ and ‘subjectification’. This allows us to contribute to the knowledge on the political and democratic character of social work. Methodology: In Belgium the complexities of the participation of the poor discourse are reflected in a significant historical case, the General report on Poverty (1994), which was an influential policy document and refers to the historical moment that the self-advocacy movement of people in poverty was formally recognised. We will discuss the empirical findings from a qualitative research project on the construction process of the GRP. Relying on a combination of archival research with oral history, we applied a content analysis of documents retrieved from two archives (Foundation King Baudouin and ATD Fourth World) and a qualitative content analysis of oral history interviews with seventeen key actors (representatives of people in poverty, social work professionals and civil society). Results: We theorize the two mayor findings of the GRP construction process through the conceptual lens of Rancière. First, the shift from ‘partnership with the poor’ to ‘participation of the poor’, which occurred as the government formally commissioned the report after years of lobbying by ATD Fourth World. Second, we theorize the underlying meanings of the participation concept which were ‘covered –up’ at the time as the GRP was presented in the public debate as a consensus shared by all stakeholders. However, our research revealed that at least four diverging understandings competed to become the dominant understanding: participation understood as ‘mobilization’, ‘confrontation’, ‘consultation’ as well as ‘inclusion’. Conclusions: Following on our historical and critical perspective, the notion of self-advocacy by the poor in relation to notions of democracy and participation, appears as a complex and contested concept which challenges current dominant understandings within social work and creates opportunities to foreground the political character of social work. We will contend that the announced paradigm shift in the 1990s ‘from advocacy to self-advocacy’ was missing the point and blurs a complex understanding of social work that indeed – as the topic of this conference points out – has to constantly balance out administrative, market-oriented and consumerist orientations with political, structural and community-oriented approaches.
The paradigm of social activation is usually the response of neoliberal social policy to a large number of long-term unemployed and hard-to-employ people entitled to rights from public funds and excluded from social events. It is often carried out in a way that is in contradiction to contemporary social work values and practice. In the last few years, social activation in Slovenia has become a recognizable concept in national documents, where two views of activation are recognized. The first has parallels with employment activation and considers unemployment as a consequence of individual factors; structural influences are not at the forefront. The second stresses the strengthening of the capabilities, competences, sources of power and the daily functioning of marginalized individuals. Due to the fact that the number of long-term unemployed persons and recipients of financial social assistance is increasing, the competent ministry launched a pilot project of social activation. It provides short, long and intermediate programs for users. The experiences in other countries suggest that activation is more effective if programs are designed according to the needs of users. In Slovenia, however, the programs are universally prepared. We assume that the design of the program can be critical to the success of the project. The pilot project started last year and is still under way. We cannot verify the tangible results with the users yet. However, in the interim period, we wanted to find out how the implementation of the project is assessed by the social activation coordinators. We have verified their understanding of the project and the possible interconnection of this with outcomes for participants, the course of their work with possible good practice of the programs, suggestions for improving work, challenges at work, assessment of project success, opportunities for improvement. Through this data we want to gain insight into the extent to which social activation is in line with the concepts and principles of social work. The population represents 48 coordinators working in different regions. Their tasks are focused on networking of actors in the region and working with program participants. In a non-random and purposeful sample, we collected 16 coordinators with whom we conducted 10 partially structured interviews and processed them with qualitative analysis. Preliminary results of the survey show that coordinators understand social activation as strengthening the power of users, with an integrated approach focusing on understanding the complex causes of long-term unemployment in the direction of approaching the labour market. Yet they do not problematize it from the point of view that it can be a precarious work. It can be noted that the concepts and principles of social work do not play a very large role. In continuation of the project, it would be necessary to follow the ethics and values of social work that have emancipatory potential for people who are target groups for social activation programs. Otherwise, social activation will result in transferring the burden to the individual.
The role of Public Libraries has changed considerably and rapidly since their beginning (e.g. Hildreth and Sullivan 2015; Godin 2016; Herrera 2016). Public Libraries can no longer be seen as merely ‘passive’ places, where only information can be found. More and more they have become ‘active’ or ‘interactive’ places, where information is displayed, disseminated and communicated in an active and expressive way. The once so recognizable place filled with books has been transformed into a place that had to make room for other activities, such as relaxing, studying, working, meeting, playing, participating, etc. As far as the role of Public Libraries is concerned, we notice an evolution from ‘collection’ to ‘connection’ (Rasmussen 2016), where they no longer just look at the problems inside the walls of their library, but also take a more active role into some societal challenges that occur outside these walls or – in other words – in our society. In this paper, we examine whether and how Public Libraries can take a more active role in these societal challenges (e.g. Vallet 2015a, 2015b, 2016). In particular, we focus on the solidarity and inclusiveness challenges Public Libraries can contribute to, both in their strategic policy and in their spatial design. After all, both the Sustainable Development goals of the UN and – more specifically for Flanders – the long-term strategy goals set by the Flemish government (i.e. Vision 2050) pay special attention to the solidarity and inclusiveness problems of vulnerable citizens, that (still) need to be addressed (more) in several policy areas. By means of a multidisciplinary approach (i.e. including the disciplines of sociology, policy-making and (interior)architecture), in which a (I) literature study and an (II) exploration of the field are carried out simultaneously, we receive an overview on the societal challenges that (still) need to be addressed (more) and a first view on how this can be done by the help of Public Libraries. The exploration of the field is carried out in 2 phases. Phase 1 consists of 13 open interviews with Public Library experts on the Flemish Policy Level, while phase 2 consists of approximately 25 semi-structured interviews with Public Library experts on the Local Library level (i.e. directors and managers of Public Libraries throughout the 4 provinces of Flanders). In a later phase, the method of (III) Research by Design (RbD) will be carried out, in which the input of both the literature study and the interviews will be translated into one or more (re)designs for Public Libraries. In this paper, the preliminary results of our research will be presented in an analyses scheme, that shows all solidarity and inclusiveness challenges Public Libraries can contribute to as well as some strategies and concrete actions to inspire and encourage them to getting started.
In many Western European countries, neoliberal economic restructuring and a strict approach towards international migration gave rise to an increase in the number of socially vulnerable citizens. Existing research on this topic (Vranken et al., 2012; Sannen et al., 2011) indicates that employment offers protection to social vulnerability, but isn’t a guarantee for social empowerment on its own. Social vulnerability is caused by a complex interplay between various factors, such as demographic background, mental and physical health, poverty, etc. Because of the complexity and versality of this problem, social services aren’t always effective in empowering vulnerable citizens, nor in creating inclusive economic participation in a sustainable fashion (Levitas et al., 2007). In recent years, Vallet, Bylemans and De Nys-Ketels (2015; 2016; 2017a; 2017b; 2018) have been advocating the use of Inclusive Economic Participation (IEP) sites as a way forward towards a holistic approach to social empowerment. Based on inductive research and previously conducted fieldwork, they argue that for social empowerment to be successful, a focus on the economic participation of social vulnerable citizens is needed, both as a producer (i.e. by employment) and a consumer (i.e. by providing low-threshold products to consume). Furthermore, they argue that clustering public, (social) profit and/or private organizations in a territorial network can help to resolve the challenge of inclusive economic participation of vulnerable citizens, because of the higher probability of cooperation between these organisations and the easier spatial accessibility for vulnerable citizens. As such, Vallet et al. believe that the development of IEP sites increases the chances for the social empowerment of vulnerable citizens. However, while based on previously conducted fieldwork and inductive research methods, the assumptions underlying this IEP site concept haven’t yet been substantiated with existing theoretical literature. More specific, the IEP site concept is based on several strategic and spatial assumptions, such as (i) the strategic assumption that cooperation by definition leads to synergies and (i) the spatial assumption that the geographical dispersion of social (economic) organizations is a threshold for citizens in a social vulnerable position. In this article we elaborate on the basics and fundamentals for the cooperative and site-oriented approach underlying the IEP site concept. Where in academic literature do we find the theoretical and empirical proof for the assumptions on which this concept is founded? Based on a thorough literature study, we draw on insights from sociology, urbanism, governance studies, architecture and human geography, to provide this concept with the necessary theoretical foundation. It is our believe that this multidisciplinary approach is necessary to fully grasp the versality of the societal challenge we deal with.
During the long-term crisis of western welfare states social work practices are under increasing pressure from neoliberal tendencies dismantling social protection systems and undermining fundamental notions of solidarity, equality and social rights. In social policies, collective responsibility for these social rights is hollowed out by stressing on the responsibilities of individuals, families and communities. These neoliberal approaches are often accepted in social work practice without fundamental critique, making social work extremely vulnerable for depoliticization. In contrast to this, new debates on and practices of politicization in social work also emerge. In this symposium, we aim to contribute to this renewed attention in research and practice for the political and politicizing role of social work. Our main focus is questioning the meaning and possibilities of the political role of social work. We understand politicization as a praxis that questions and disturbs 'the existing order' starting from the principle of the equality of everybody with everybody and from the reality that every existing social order is constantly creating new forms of inequality and exclusion. Based on this notion, this symposium offers four presentations based on ongoing debates on the political role of social work in Flanders. 1. Drawing on work of Arendt, Agamben, Dean and Ranciere, we elaborate on the importance to position social work in the triad between democracy and citizenship, liberal democracy and fundamental social rights and the canon of human rights. Human rights offer a horizon to think beyond fundamental social rights by aiming at the needs and claims of individuals. We will argue, the tension between human rights and fundamental social rights is productive to politicize social work. 2. Social work academies evidently mistrust the obvious neoliberal tendencies in society. Yet these neoliberal evolutions take place within a shifting discourse manifesting a new normative rationality (‘economism’) no longer restricted to the social-economic field but penetrating all domains of life. This economistic rationality developed in the field of education, not only by creating a competitive European learning area, but also by didactic approaches emphasizing personal development, individual choice, flexibility… It turns out that also a social work academy is not completely immune to this new rationality. 3.Repoliticization of youth work with vulnerable youngsters. Flemish Youth Work with vulnerable youngsters reports a tendency of focusing their programs on individual problem solving instead of working on structural problems like stigmatisation and discrimination of their target groups. Although, more and more critical youth workers raise their voice to pledge for more structural approaches. Instead of realising this merely by advocacy for the youngsters, they want to strengthen them in speaking for themselves as equal citizens. To support this, their umbrella organisation prioritized repoliticization as a key challenge. In our research, we analysed some cases of ‘good practices’ where youngsters are supported in the expression of their grievances and in claiming equal rights. The results provide the organisations with tools for critical reflection and practical development of politicization in their daily practices.
In Germany, there are about 2500 very differently structured muslim organizations. Most of them are more than just places to practice religious rites, they also offer social services volunteeringly for their own members and other interested participants (Caglar 2008; Suder 2015). Noticing that nowadays muslim actors are very differently represented in the municipal structures of welfare provision, their offers do not always get as much consideration and appreciation as those of other more established actors. The research project “Muslim organizations as actors in child and youth welfare” focuses on the question how a sustainable establishment of muslim child and youth welfare services in communal structures of welfare provision can be achieved. The PhD project concentrates on the tendencies of institutionalization of these organizations and tries to identify to what extent these tendencies contribute to sustainably anchor these organizations in the structures of child and youth welfare. The explorative study collects 32 network cards combined with interviews (Gläser/Laudel 2010) from members of the established child and youth welfare services and members of the muslim organizations. Two selected regions in West Germany, which differ in population composition, will be compared to figure out the main positive and negative influencing factors for the sustainable establishment of muslim social services.
The dual role of return-counsellors for undocumented migrants. Challenging the traditional value-creation paradigm. Joris Kennis, MSc Health Care Management and Policy Context: Voluntary Return is often considered as the most “durable solution” for the “refugee problem” , this is prominent the case for both rejected asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. For professional return-counselors themes like safety and individual needs are essential to address, especially when doubts remain about the expected conditions of individual returnees in their home countries and regions. This explains why wellbeing, care and safety concerns are present in assisted return programs . On the other hand, the character of migration-management has a restrictive nature. Return counselors are expected to implement policy goals that prevent illegal immigration and are ordered from the top downwards . The tension of this dual role emerges most clearly in the confrontation between macro-policies attempting to regulate migration more strictly - whereas serving the needs of the migrant micro-physically in front of them requires a more human approach. Problem statement: Are counsellors emotionally convinced that executing a policy to return is right? Return counselors find themselves operating in a cognitive realm but within a different normative framework. Doing migration work needs to feel right in order to prevent roll-stress from manifesting . Research questions: How is this dual role experienced by return-counsellors? Means and methods are to review, is the way forward for return-counselling a paradigm shift to the ‘co-creation’ of value? Method: This paper is descriptive and conceptual. It reports on the findings of a transnational exchange program of return-counsellors in Belgium and France. In a second part it proposes how the co-creation paradigm can offer us a valid normative framework for decision-making to return. Conclusions: 1. During a two-weeks during bilateral visit on their first-line contacts with migrants in Belgium and France, return-counselors reported statistically significant deficiencies in the domains of risk-management and transparency . The narrative illustrates the impact of the perceived dual role in the process of guiding and decision-making. 2. The co-creation paradigm offers us a normative framework were means and methods are essentially focussed on the central role of the migrant him/herself in a process of value-creation. 'It is the client who creates the value for himself and the service provider is more a value facilitator' . The counsellor invites the migrant to engage in decision-making through interaction . The interaction itself is becoming the locus of value creation. Co-creation experiences are the basis of value . Preparing to return is conceptualised in gaining tangible and intangible resources Originality/value We interlink the dual role of return counselling with a model for co-creation of value, this for the benefit of the returnee and to enhance the normative frame of migration work.
Realizing the citizenship and rights of disabled people has become an explicit aim of many Western democratic governments. Citizenship and rights conventionally refer to the ways in which the relationship between the individual and the state is constructed and concern the vital political and democratic values of freedom, equality and solidarity. We explore in this presentation how these notions are encompassed in the formal rhetoric of social policy makers and investigate the implications of policy developments based on real life experiences of informal caregivers. A directed approach to qualitative context analysis was applied on data emerging from semi-structured biographical interviews. We started from the assumption that these democratic values should be inextricably related and (re-)balanced, as it takes three to tango, to substantively realize the citizenship and rights of disabled people in practice. We conclude that, in relation to the principle of freedom, policy makers currently embrace the ideology of individual responsibility, choice and self-determination of disabled people in a so-called free and flexible market of service delivery. This particular interpretation of freedom paradoxically and easily marks disabled people as the dependent other and transform some citizens gradually into members of a residual category, who are devalued in their humanity. As to the principles of equality and solidarity, previous research shows that there is a real risk that welfare pluralism engenders a divided instead of shared responsibility between the private and the public. A relationship out of balance reinforces inequalities and unfairness. So social policy rethoric is however potentially paradoxical when a critical consideration is made about how even promising ideas are implemented in practice. For people who are living in situations of welfare dependency, the rights-based entitlement to public services might currently be under pressure.
“Make social knowledge work” is a sentence from the National Board of Social Services under the Danish Ministry for Children and Social Affairs. Their mandate is to define, promote and economical support preferable concepts of social work in Denmark and therefore with huge influence on what is emerging at the practical level. Obviously it make no sense to disagree with the idea of ‘social knowledge’ as essential in social work practice, but the question is what kind of ‘social knowledge’, there is at stake? Both when it comes to defining main goals for social intervention (e.g. improved life quality or increased connection to the labour market), and concerning criterions for measuring ‘what works’ (e.g. standards for evidence). These questions are main topics in this presentation. How and to what extend alienate and depersonalize the national policy social workers and social pedagogues in their practice with the demand for evidence based methods and import of manualized concepts© with acronyms like IPS, MST, PMTO, CTI, FIT and ACT? Methods that inherent ‘codes of conduct’ limiting the practitioners’ space for action founded on local insight in the clients problems and experience based professional judgement because of demanded faithfulness to specific step-by-step instructions and very reduced space for local solutions. Concurrently new social political initiatives in Denmark are though also promoting the value of developing social methods derived from local initiatives and experiences. A kind of bottom-up methodological approach called ‘Promising Practices’, with potential to be acknowledged as valuable for further promotion and support. If – and only if – the social workers and social pedagogues are able to document their successful endeavors in terms, that eliminate the local circumstances and premises because “It is essential that such work has the opportunity to feed into national method development if social efforts are to be more effective” (Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, 2017). Empirical descriptions and theoretical considerations on these tendencies in a top-down as well as a bottom-up perspective focusing on social workers and social pedagogues in their daily day work is the starting point of the presentation. Then follows a brief comparative international view looking for similarities and variations in the gap between political-administrative and professional practitioners interpretations of ‘social knowledge’ and the impact of possible diverging views on this. The final part brings more theoretical perspectives on social work and social pedagogy with topics like alienation because of diminished opportunities for situated discernment/judgement, depersonalization in the professionals relations to their clients, and limited authorization to develop alternative and emancipative understandings of ‘social knowledge’ in the local practice. Alternatives, that formerly was common as e.g. mutual supported community-based social work, democratic psychiatry or backing up alternative life trajectories for socially marginalized citizens. Addressing the overall theme of the TiSSA conference, the presentation reflects on actual social political managerial barriers for developing or maintaining solidarity and mutuality within social work and social pedagogy in daily day practice.
The time children and adolescents spend at school has continuously expanded due to all-day schooling in Germany. Schools have become a centre in a young person’s life as they spend a tremendous part of their everyday life at schools (cf. Arnoldt & Steiner 2016: 91). Educational institutions represent one of the few places that every pupil is necessarily in touch with constantly and intensively. That is why schools can be regarded as a key point not only in our educational system but also for growing up in public care and education on a larger scale. As a result, educational professionals have faced a change in terms of what they are expected to contribute in this context. As pointed out in recent debates on scandalous misbehaviour and severe damage done to children and young adults there is a focus especially on the procedures and effectiveness of interventions in cases of endangerments for children and adolescents. As current research shows there is a large variety of publications either dealing with the legal framework or offering hands on recommendations (cf. Bode et al. 2012: 2). In contrast empirical data in this matter has not been gathered and evaluated to an adequate extent at all. To improve this lack of findings this dissertation investigates the patterns and modalities that educational professionals at schools make use of in hazardous situations of children and adolescents. The project’s method is based on a research design that uses group discussions with educational workers at schools. Using the documentary method of Ralf Bohnsack it investigates the conjunctive space of experience the participants have in common to this theme in an explorative way. “The documentary method offers – on the level of an observation of the second order – an access to the pre-reflexive or tacit knowledge, which is implied in the practice of action.” (Bohnsack 2010: 103). It can be assumed that participants in these group discussions can hardly express their full knowledge and understanding of the subject in a way that the research project can transfer it directly into results and answers to the research questions. That is why the analysis focuses on the patterns and modalities that the questioned educational professionals reveal by discussing and portraying their behaviour, reasoning and processes in their work life. Common knowledge and practises can then be examined as a “framework of orientations” underlying their depictions. It is the researcher “who brings it to terms” as “documentary interpreter” (ibid: 104). The sample comprises groups of four to six educational professionals. The term educational professionals not only implies teachers but also social workers employed at the same school if available. The composition of the sample equally considers different school types and regional disparities. Thus, this project provides empirical data that can stimulate the future professional discourse on the endangerment of children and adolescents.
Front-line expertise is deeply embedded in day-to-day practice, and it can change and develop as it is used. Expertise also reflects moments of ingenuity, creativity and improvisation. Recognising this opens up questions of how we can best study these dynamic aspects of professional expertise. Traditional methods of front-line research tend to privilege practitioners’ accounts, assuming the nature of professional expertise can be easily explained and articulated, or researchers’ interoperations of observed practice. However, there is good reason to assume that practitioner’s find it difficult to articulate their expertise and that external interpretations don’t engage with the action-focused nature of professional expertise. In this presentation, I want to take up this challenge and outline an approach to researching front-line practice that foregrounds the dynamic, contextual and embodied nature of professional expertise and which draws on techniques and insights from drama practice to research expertise. I will draw on my current involvement in a research project working with social work and drama practitioners, in which we sought to develop a form of drama as a research practice, to capture and represent aspects of front-line practice which can often be missed or misunderstood when simply spoken about to or observed by external researchers. I will describe the research approach, involving the use of interactive and immersive theatre to work with practitioners to capture hard to access information about professional expertise and decision making. I will also consider how this approach can allow front-line workers to describe and explain their ‘know-how' and what they do in ways that can provide rich data within a cooperative research practice. The research points to a key dimension of professional knowledge that is difficult but not impossible to research. It also raises practical and ethical questions about how research in this area should be developed—and I will conclude by considering these key questions for the future development of the approach.
In Portugal, there has been a paradigm change in the implementation of social policies, which are increasingly adopting a logic of governance and territorialization. In this context, the Local Social Intervention Network (RLIS) has emerged as an organizational model that emphasizes integrated action and therefore the involvement and accountability of different local actors (public and private entities and civil society). This research aims to understand how and to what extent the new form of territorial organization through the RLIS effectively corresponds to a new format for social intervention, producing renewed forms of understanding / acting on complex local social problems, and generating social impacts. What is "new" and what is linked to the traditional ways of conceptualizing and acting on social problems under the new governance paradigm? Governance appears to be a current and pressing societal challenge, which has been discussed both in the academic arena (Braun &Schultz, 2010; Ferreira, Fernandes &Silva; Gundelach, Buser &Kübler, 2017; Kim &Lee, 2012; Lopes, 2010; Magone, 2017; Pereira&Carranca, 2011; Vossole, 2013) and in the context of social policies (Burgess, 2014; Ekundayo, 2017; Farazmand, 2017; Ferrão, 2015; Ruggie, 2014; Veiga, Eliseu, Cosinha &Fernandes, 2013). It is a cross-cutting theme, as it has been adopted at global, European, national, regional and local levels in multiple sectors. Non-profit organizations have become increasingly central to the capacity to promote local social intervention programmes/projects on a local level. There is also a growing concern with results and impacts (European Commission, 2009; Gertler, Martinez, Premand, Rawlings& Vermeersch, 2016; Roche, 2005; Rogers, 2012) and it is now becoming more and more important to measure the "utility"/value of an intervention and identify the indicators of change achieved by the intervention, compared to its absence (UNDP, 2009; UNEG Impact Evaluation Task Force,2013). In this context, the objectives of the research are to evaluate the social impact of the implementation of the RLIS in the following areas: in the territories (the results of local social partnerships, collaborative work by public and private entities, structures and intervention programmes in the area of social action, cooperation strategies, the rationalization of resources); on non-profit organizations (changes in functioning and organization); on people's lives (analysis of the results achieved, identification of the main differences in comparison to services previously provided by the state, identification of objectives and perceived changes in the lives of people and the community). A mixed (qualitative and quantitative) methodological approach will be adopted, in three interconnected stages: 1.Exploratory - focus groups and interviews with key national actors; 2.Extensive characterization of the RLIS - surveys conducted among all RLIS teams and a sample of beneficiaries; 3.Case studies - in-depth study of 6RLISs. Forming part of the Inter-University PhD Programme in Social Work (Portuguese Catholic University & University of Coimbra), the research is currently in the exploratory stage, engaged in producing a literature review to establish the theoretical bases of the problematic under study, and in preparing interviews. PhD scholarship funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology under the ESF and the POCH funding program.
The present research aims to study decisional models, underlying criteria and determining (objective and subjective) factors of professional judgement in risk situations, as well as the procedural logic behind professionals’ decision making in the Portuguese Child and Youth Protection System, particularly Social Workers. Emphasis will be given to criteria and arguments associated with the decision of child reunification, i.e., the process through which a child protection professional determines conditions have been gathered for a child previously subjected to a severe danger situation (that caused her institutionalization) to be reunited with her family. In face of the invoked arguments, we will argue that families are not assessed based on purely rational criteria to determine their change potential and subsequent investment (or not) in child reunification, and shall aim to uncover this decision process’s main features and determinants. The main research goals to be achieved are: to compile and analyze the main arguments mobilized by professionals in different stages of child protection process (arguments typology); to explore risk conception and risk assessment models underneath such arguments in order to reach the intervention referential in this area; to assess the existence (or not) of different levels of technical autonomy according to the context in which child protection takes place (administrative or judicial); to understand the influence in the decision making process of factors that determine the “nondeliberative judgement” (Webb, 2012), considering less studied aspects such as intuition, emotion, professional instinct, as well as the use of tacit knowledge and practice wisdom arising from professional experience. Exploratory interviews will take place with strategic elements of the National Child Protection System (Judges Trainer, Social Work Managers). Based on content analysis of these interviews, specific situations of child endangerment were presented in vignette format to child protection agents (judges, social workers and other professionals from Child Protection Services as well as professionals from Children Shelters). These participants were asked a set of questions about: i) who and what elements should be involved in decision making, ii) variables they consider more influent in this decision making process iii) the importance they attribute to a set of characteristics specific to abuse situations. Argument analysis based on child protection case files will focus on the identification of such features and professionals’ predictive abilities. Features such as professional experience, personal path, familiarity between cases are some of the variables under study.
Social work-oriented extra-curricular activities have become a key factor in the prevention of social vulnerability and social exclusion. Since the 60's decade a big network of after school leisure associations began to blossom all around Spain, particularly in the Catalonia region, with the purpose of giving children that lived a situation of social vulnerability a safe place to stay after school and carry on educational and leisure activities and also a chance to participate in their communities and aquire a set of social skills. Nowadays, these associations work alongside the social work departments to prevent, detect and undertake early intervention if necessary and have received the name of socio-educational centers. Socio-educational centres carry on leisure, academic and skill-adquisition activities in order to teach children a holistic set of skills that can help them strive through their situation of social vulnerability. However, professional educators and the catalan public administration have realized that, in order to aguarantee a long term well-being for the children, it's necessary for the adults of the family to have a set of competences. The goal of this research is to identify those parental competences and help socio-educational centers to measure and try to improve them through family oriented programs. To achieve this, we have designed a formation program for educators in family intervention and measured it's impact in the educator's perception of parental competences. The formation program consists in a comprehensive methodological guide built with the collaboration of social educators. The contents of the guide consist in a brief explanation of the academic and legal framework regarding families, a definition of the purpose and methodology to improve parental competences and several tools to identify, measure and evaluate the impact of the intervention. The program also included a formation program about the contents of the guide. This project followed a mixed methods approach that includes interviews to 25 educators from 14 socio-educational centers and quantitative evaluation using a parental competence submitted by 24 educators from 6 socio-educational centres. Qualitative data was analized through a grounded theory dessign. On the other hand, quantitative data was gathered thought a pre-experimental dessign consisting in three stages: pre-test, post-test and follow-up measuring. The experimental period had a duration of 6 months and the follow up measurement was done 4 months later. Results confirm the necessity of family centered interventions, as well as a faint but significative improvement on the perception of specific parental competences in those centers that followed the program. Educators also expressed several improvements on children's behavior and their relationship with their parents, some of witch have been more implicated with the center's activities. However, although the results suggest the usefulnes of the formation program, further evaluation sholud be undertaken in order to measure the long-term impact of the project and to identify possible intervining variables and their impact in the program's outcome.
The European Union is facing many challenges approaching the 20´s of the 21st century. Issues such as neoliberal development, poverty and inequality but also the transnationalisation of legal structures are factors creating tension among its member states. Another major challenge is the issue of migration and therefore questions of diversity and multiculturalism. The large numbers of people seeking asylum since 2015 have sharply accelerated processes of diversification as well as nationalisation, identity politics and hostility versus migrants and othered people. The rightwing discourse all over Europe is successfully constructing and highlighting dangers of diversity and multiculturalism and seems to gain more and more influence. So the old social work questions of working on the social in the context of contemporary Europe might need to focus on questions of solidarity and unity within the diversity of people and cultures. But which practices of doing solidarity are (in)visible when we look at the social work praxis – the academic as well as the non-academic one ? And which normative positions seem to be important within this complex discourse arena? The talk will deliver some food for thought in a nutshell and seeks to discuss some of these points with the audience afterwards.
Since the end of the 20th century, significant methodological strides have been made in examining the effectiveness of complex psychosocial interventions. While the field of child welfare remains in early stages compared to other fields of social work, developments in child welfare research now allow for the identification of children and youth at risk for adverse developmental outcomes, for the analysis of need and the examination of available services and actual service utilization (Lindsey et al., 2008). It further permits systematic investigation of outcome effects through a range of methodological approaches, including case control studies, methods like propensity score matching as well as efficacy and effectiveness studies (James, 2018) . This presentation aims to introduce the audience to current developments in outcome research in the field of child welfare. While randomized controlled studies (RCT) remain the gold standard for measuring intervention effects, such studies, though increasing in number, remain rare in child welfare for a number of reasons, including ethical, methodological and logistical concerns (Holosko, 2010). As such, demonstrating the effectiveness of a complex psychosocial intervention, service or method is seldom the result of a single successfully conducted study. Instead, it is generally the result of a carefully designed program of research that views intervention research as an iterative process ranging from clinical epidemiology to implementation research and is one step within a larger translational framework. This conceptual translational framework has been useful in the field of public health and is increasingly applied in areas of social work, including child welfare (Catalano et al., 2012). Within this framework, concepts from the outcome literature will be explained, such as the difference between efficacy, effectiveness, services and implementation research. Throughout the presentation, concrete examples from the child welfare research literature will be used to illustrate the iterative nature of child welfare and to demonstrate how intervention researchers approach the systematic investigation of effectiveness. It is the goal of the presentation to provide a clearer understanding of the possibilities in child welfare intervention research while stimulating a discussion on its challenges. (Comment: If a workshop format would be possible, it would be preferred since the traditional 20 minute format may not suffice). References: Catalano, R.F., Fagan, A.A., Gavin, L.E., Greenberg, M.T., Irwin, C.E., Ross, D.A. & Shek, D.T. (2012). Worldwide application of the prevention research base in adolescent health. The Lancet, 379 (9826), 1653-1664. Holosko, M. J. (2010). What types of designs are we using in social work research and evaluation?. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(6), 665-673. James, S. (2018, forthcoming). Wirkungsforschung in der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe – Internationale Perspektiven [Effectiveness research in the child welfare field – international perspectives]. In M.-C. Begemann, C. Bleck & R. Liebig (Eds), Wirkungsforschung in der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe (Sammelband). Beltz Juventa. Lindsey, D., Shlonsky, A. & McLucke, A. (2008). Child welfare research. An introduction. In D. Lindsey & A. Shlonsky (Eds.), Child welfare research. Advances for practice and policy (pp.3-11). New York: Oxford University Press.
School year 2016/17 - An extraordinary happening takes place in a small town in Central Bosnia-Herzegovina (B&H): High school students confront the dominant nationalistic politics resisting pupils’ segregation "in two schools under one roof" out of "ethnical" reasons (a common post-war practice in B&H, against UN and Council of Europe Human rights conventions). Soon they receive public support from teachers, students, NGO's and civil society, international organizations, media, foreign diplomacy in B&H, university professors, social psychologists but not from social work (SW) professionals working in the town, the region or in the country. The aim of this paper is, on one side, to reflect about the role that social workers, according to its mandate, ethical principles and normative expectations of Global Agenda, need or are expected to take in such events (segregative political intervention and social resistance) affecting both the educational community and the whole local community. It is intended to discuss how solidarity from the SW profession and discipline could get materialized in the context of social processes as social demands, community struggle and resistance: Should it be just a formal support or Could (or even should) social workers get into action with and within their community, putting their knowledge and professional capabilities into it? Should it be just a personal stand or a professional stand? What about SW professionals employed in Social work community centres and local Social security and Social protection institutions? On the other side, this paper aims to explore and reflect on my practical experience and engagement as BA Social work student, activist and community facilitator settled in B&H in this self-organized community struggle, from my insider-local community member point of view: A practise promoting, dynamizing and coordinating community participation combined with theoretical, psychosocial and basic legal support as well as visibility and awareness-raising beyond local boundaries, fostering networking through informing and engaging further social actors into action. It is intended to discuss this case as example of SW practice in the context of community resistance, under community social work theoretical framework, especially considering the work of prof. López Peláez (UNED, Spain) and his community social work definition and decalogue: Should such a practice be considered just as activism, as social or community intervention or can it really be considered as a Social work practise? Are practises of this kind developing a new professional paradigm in this period of social welfare deconstruction and socio-economical and political pressure from neoliberal and authoritarian nationalistic politics?
There is a lot of social work carried out in the voluntary sector. In Denmark there has been severe political attention on social volunteer organizations in recent years, as they are described as key players in the discussion of the future of the Danish welfare state. The majority of research relating to the third sector in Denmark is quantitative correlations of movement patterns in Danes voluntary efforts in terms of activities, donations or number of hours. This has meant that the qualitative and theoretical studies of what volunteering really means have been lacking behind more quantitative and survey-based studies of the "voluntary sector" at macro level. Few scholars has emphasized the need to study volunteerism as a social phenomenon to show how caring in a voluntary setting differs from both the private and public care systems. My research on the social volunteer organization ‘Children’s Adult-friends offers a qualitative case study of the interactional praxis of volunteering. Children’ Adult-friends is an organization who specializes in matching children from single parent households with a resourceful adult of the same gender. Children's Adult-friends main work is to "screen" children, parents and volunteers, in order to make a qualified match of children with their adult-friends. The main target group for Children’s Adult-friends are children with little or no contact to their father or mother. Although the organization do not systematically analyze the socioeconomic background of the families, they sense that it is primarily families with resources, but often with a small network, who apply for an adult-friend. Both quantitative and qualitative pilot studies of the organizations indicates that the children with adult-friends ranks higher regarding problematic emotional symptoms, than Danish children in general. Sociologist have argued that the sympathetic culture in Western society has evolved to include "emotional problems" such as stress, identity crises, divorces, loneliness, difficult relationships, dissatisfaction with work, home affairs and school. Children’s Adult-friends -as an organization specializing in helping children with little adult contact - is an organizational sympathy response to these kind of emotional problems. Drawing on participatory observations and 15 qualitative interviews with organizational actors, parent’s, volunteers and children combined with a sociology of emotions perspective, I address the feeling rules, the micro hierarchies and the emotion work in this voluntary effort. I analyze the feeling rules in the organization to show how the organization ‘control’ their volunteers and their target group regarding who is entitled to what, in this type of social exchange system, which is characterized as an adult-friend relationship. Secondly, I analyze how the involved actors incorporate and experience these feeling rules in their relationship with each other to find a suitable attachment-style. In this presentation, I will shed light on the findings from this study, with a focus on why the adult-friend relation is an extraordinary relation, with it’s own emotional script, that differs from what we now about public and private care systems.
Eneida Lajqi The role and position of women in Kosovo’s society Kosovo as a new state that has gone through a war, with a new history of state-building after a transitory period has managed to build democratic institutions and state-building after a transitory period. Albanians history since Illyrians until nowadays in modern times has assessed the position of woman and her importance in state-building and education of all generations. Although a new state, Republic of Kosovo has represented the highest values of the European Union and other Western countries regarding state legislature to protecting woman’s position. In Kosovo exist a few laws that aim to protect women’s right and preventing of every discrimination of gender or sexual orientation. Based on this in the Republic of Kosovo has a large number of laws that regulate the position of women, as the Law on Gender Equality, the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence and other acts which give women a sufficiently favorable and adequate position in Kosovo society. When talking about the position of women in Kosovo’s society it is impossible not to ask about the level of employed women in Kosovo? Are women discriminated through job vacancies? What are the professional areas where women are most discriminated against? To what extent is the participation of women in institutions at central and local level? What is the number of women in business? What is the model of a respectable woman in Kosovo? All these questions are aimed at addressing how women are favored in Kosovo society and in what positions they are favored or discriminated against. We therefore quite rightly say that the position of women in Kosovar society, although still sensitive and not at the appropriate levels, is at good level compared to previous years and old times where patriarchal societies have not given women their deserved rights. But even today, in Kosovo society, women have managed to be a key part of the very important processes of statehood and they remain the pillar of state building, education, and activity in political and social institutions of the Republic Kosovo. Keywords: Kosovo, protect, women. Master of civil law and property rights, University of Pristina “Hasan Prishtina”, str “Agim Ramadani, pn, 10000, Prishtine, corresponding author e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In this contribution we pay attention to (the history) of foster care as a form of out-of-home placement. Even tough foster care has always been preferred to residential care, Western societies to this day struggle with the question how to deal best with and organise care for children who for various reasons need to be placed out of their home (De Wilde, 2015; Scholte, 1997; Leloux-Opmeer, 2017). In an attempt to meet the fundamental needs of out-of-home placed children, states have developed different forms of care, varying from residential care on the one hand to foster care on the other hand (Leloux-Opmeer et al., 2017; Rietveld – Van Wingerden, 2017). This debate whether and how children need to be taken out of their home has flared up since the turn of the century due to a growing number of adult testifying about experiences of physical, sexual and emotional abuse when they lived as an out-of-home placed child in such a residential institution. Consequently, many European countries instigated in a national inquiry into historical abuse (Daly, 2014; De Wilde & Vanobbergen, 2017; Sköld, 2016). Our previous research has elaborated the notion of historical abuse by showing that complaints about their time in care do not only relate to extreme cases of abuse or neglect, but also attest about violence due to a lack of information about the reasons and circumstances of the out-of-home placement (De Wilde, 2015). On account of these testimonies and inquiries into historical abuse, residential care eventually downgraded to a place of last resort whereas the out-of-home placement of children in foster families became increasingly favoured both in theory and practice (Daly, 2014; Ferguson, 2007; Hutchinson et al., 2003; Lundström & Sallnäs, 2017). While generally out-of-home placement is deemed inadequate and not in the interest of the child (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980a; Kruithof, 2008), the current choice for foster care is internationally often defended as a better alternative for residential care claiming it would be more in ‘the interest of the child’ (Van den Bruel & Stroobants; 2016). Even though placing a child out of their home or not is one of the most intrusive decisions in youth care there is a lack of empirical data about foster care as out-of- home placement method. If we want to avoid apologising again in 50 years’ time, we need to critically reflect on the dominant choice for foster care and study if and how this form of out-of-home care is in ‘the best interest of the child’. In the first part of our research we studied - in collaboration with the Flemish Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner – over 800 complaints concerning foster care registered by the complaint line for children and young people of the last 10 years. Through a thematic analysis we threshed out which ‘alarming situations’ are reported, by whom, against who and how the argument ‘the best interest of the child’ is used to justify the complaint.
The International Association of Schools of Social Work’s 2010 census recorded dramatic growth of institutions offering social work education worldwide. In Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), where the study takes place, the expansion of a new university social work programs had started in 2000, following post-war and post-socialist transitions. Demands of neoliberal transformation, shortage of social workers with the university degree, the involvement of international actors in social work (SW) education, as well as, the ubiquity of ethnic divisions within the country had created a favourable context for establishing more SW schools. Today, with four universities offering the SW degree, in contrast to only one in the pre-war period, there are certainly more opportunities to study SW in BiH, followed by an increased number of yearly-enrolled students and graduates. However, there is hardly any scientific research, especially transformative approaches to challenges upon graduation experienced by graduate social workers (GSWs). This doctoral dissertation in progress sheds light on a neglected yet very important question: what happened after the graduation? This paper is based on a critical and responsive type of action research (AR) conducted between 2013 and 2016 in BiH. Its dynamic and nonlinear study design started with the exploration of a present-day situation of GSWs and their direct experiences about post-graduation challenges. The aim of the study was to generate critical understandings in collaboration with GSWs of the challenges they encountered after the graduation, their responses to challenges, as well as to promote change through identification of alternative perspectives and possibilities for collective action in response to the given circumstances. In total, fifteen research participants were recruited from a single SW school using purposive sampling. First semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2014 with nine GSWs who got the social work degree in the 2011-2013 period. Interviews were analysed using data-driven thematic analysis. After the assessment phase, series of the informed action took place over 2015 – 2016 in response to present-situation found. In 2016, six more research participants were recruited. Research participants reported on various challenges experienced upon graduation – from obstacles encountered already in finding internship placement, over obstacles in obtaining the professional exam, to unequal opportunities and bleak job prospects in SW profession. Some of them did not only remain in perennial job seeking in SW, but they were pushed into precarious jobs outside of SW profession and university qualification. Their individual efforts to find a solution for own situation yet disconnected individual struggles could be understood as the individualization of the problem and self-responsibility for finding solutions, without translation of private troubles into public issues. Despite existing challenges, along sharing common circumstances, resistance to given situation by GSWs in form of bottom-up collective action was not found. This paper highlights commitments of AR to challenging post-graduation transitions and to change by seeking for alternatives to a dismal situation after graduation. Besides, it shows challenges posed to AR in the context being studied - “perpetual transitions” and a perennial crisis in Bosnia, and development of social work at Europe’s semi-periphery.
TiSSA, Social Work and Solidarity: in Search of New Paradigms, Pre-Conference Heimonen Päivi PhD-student University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences Finland email@example.com Construction of work and leadership of nongovernmental organizations in social and health care in the center of society’s transition The third sector, and thus the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), are undergoing many changes due to the social, political and economic environmental transitions in Finland as well as in the hole Europe. In the history, the role of NGOs has changed over time from voluntary work and peer group organizations to specialized service producers and innovators. The time has also changed the role of the leadership and the challenges it needs to face and manage. This study explores the construction of the work and the leadership of the NGOs in social and health care in the center of society’s transition. The organizations in this study are located in the fields of child protection, mental health, and substance services. The empirical data consists of twenty (20) interviews with the leaders, the documents of leadership in the same organizations from the past five years (2011-2016), and one to two weeks of observation of the work of three of these leaders. The research is qualitative, and seeks to answer four questions: 1) how is the society’s transition visible in the NGO documents; 2) what does the society’s transition mean to the NGOs from the leader’s perspective; 3) how do the leaders construct their leadership; and 4) how is the identity of the leaders constructed in their speak and action. As for the method, in the first question the study draws on content analysis, in second and third on discourse analysis, and in fourth on narrative analysis. The documents show that the transitions that effects to the NGOs are political, economic, social, technological and ethic. The transitions happen on the levels of the leadership, organization, local and state/global. Co-operation, preparation, showing productivity and influential work are seen central to the work of the NGOs in the future. Four themes are identified through which leadership manifests itself in the NGOs. These themes are professionality, people-oriented leadership, network-oriented leadership and transformational leadership. Values are in the center, when NGOs and their leaders make decisions about their role and work. In the preconference in Ljubljana, I would like to discuss, should I somehow combine the three questions about leadership and how should I do that. I would like to discuss, if I should concentrate to discourse analysis or should I use the narrative analysis.
Throughout the years 1990-1999, the Balkans were heavily challenged by a destructive policy that worked on any other principle than that of preserving people’s lives or human freedoms. While, as supposed, the State is for man, in the case of Kosovo there was a situation where the State is not in the function of Man. That became true especially when in March 1989 the Serbian Parliament proclaimed the new constitution suspending the autonomy of Kosovo. In addition to this, there were other developments, such as: dismissal from work, the closure of schools and hospitals; life became paralyzed and supervised by the military state. Thousands of workers left without their job, the industry was almost destroyed. Over 5000 high school teachers and 850 university professors have been expelled from work, more than 20,000 students and about 60,000 students of secondary schools were expelled from their school building. That influenced directly in paralyzing life, not only the political, but the cultural and social life, as well. It is exactly under this repression that the political disobedience occurs. Consequently, this disobedience and rejection became the crux of the parallel life and parallel state. Moreover, the disobedience, in this case, was not only an action derived from the being at risk; it became engagement by being for being (Heidegger). Despite the fact that, as F. Agani claims, the political-military action of the Serbian authorities was turned into collective punishment, the disobedience has been socially and politically derived as a refusal toward the repressive state. The need for self-organization had increased the social solidarity within the Kosovo society as a cornerstone of the parallel state/life. This self-organization derived from the solidarity, had created new opportunities and pathways for social and political projects which would become pillars of the parallel state/life. In spite of the fact that the unemployment rate among Albanians those days was almost 90 %, which caused very high social and economic pressure, the new order of living with remittances of the workers from the diaspora, has been discovered as the only instrument of surviving. Almost 30.000 families in Kosovo received assistance from almost 30.000 Albanian workers in Germany. The culture of solidarity has been cultivated into economic strategy culture of encountering with the social and political challenges. The rise of hope has been rooted within this psychological and social structuration of society. Being nurtured with solidarity, the culture of disobedience has been qualified into political resistance and commitment for an independent state.
This is a performance based on a dialogue between two doctoral students who are both social work practitioners and researchers who work with young women in situations of distress. In this performance, based on our research and practice, we offer a range of meanings of the concept of solidarity. We will use specific examples from our practice and research to argue that solidarity is a practice of resistance and opposition to the existing social order as well as an alternative to it. Our experience has taught us that solidarity is expressed in different ways and contexts by social workers and by adolescent girls and young women. We suggest that solidarity should be seen as a partnership, a practice that allows social workers and young women to co-create a new therapeutic space at the intersection of different personal, social, professional, and political positions. We believe that solidarity as resistance and partnership is a therapeutic tool that can provide an alternative to the concept of empathy or an addition to empathy in social work. Unlike empathy, solidarity is oriented toward social change. Solidarity can serve as a bridge between the personal and the social. It can help us, as social workers, to fulfill the goals of social work as a profession and to make our practice more human, appropriate, and relevant for the people with whom we work. In this performance dialogue, we will discuss these claims through examples from our research and practice. Nour Shimei conducted participatory action research (PAR) with young adult women in the framework of the PhD program. Together, she and the young women conceptualized the principles of therapeutic practice with girls and young women in social work, and then worked in different ways to share these ideas with students, professionals, and policymakers through lectures, seminars, and meetings. Mirit Sidi established The Women's Courtyard, a project that created community centers for girls and young women in Israel, a feminist therapeutic space that responded to situations of poverty and social marginalization. She formulated the practice in The Women's Courtyard through ethnographic research and a reflexive cycle. Today, her study aims in the PhD program are to document the daily life of people who live in marginal situations in distressed neighborhoods and conceptualize practices of solidarity that are implemented between people in daily life as an act of resistance.
Nobody is against ‘solidarity’ – it seems to be an inherently good concept but that is more because we do not recognize it as an essentially contested concept (Gallie, 1956) just like ‘social justice’. The purpose of our contribution is to look from the perspective of history at the recent evolution that prioritizes warm solidarity above cold solidarity. Even critical social workers defending other ‘essentially contested concepts’ such as ‘community’ and ‘rights’ might contribute more to the undermining of the welfare state than they think. Colette Bec’s (2007) inspires my own analysis of this shift from an institutional, ‘cold’ view on solidarity built into the structures of society to a personal, ‘warm’ view on solidarity that is more popular today. In Great Britain one has big society, the Dutch have their participation society and in Flanders we have the societalization of care - all meaning more or less the same thing : less public welfare and more privatization – thus creating a new institutional context for social work. The marketization of parts of social work – the neoliberal shift – goes well together with a second conservative shift. This second shift argues for deprofessionalizing social work practices and refer these practices to the private sphere of the family. In our contribution we want to focus especially on the conservative shift. Good care should be like the care provided by a family (Noddings, 2002). The cold solidarity of social security has less value than the warm, personal solidarity when we care for needing family members or neighbors. This informalization of care not only replaces professional care – it also replaces the standards of what good care is. From a historical point of view -- as is quite often pointed out - this seems a backward movement. In focusing on the arguments developed through history to replace the local and parochial systems of care and solidarity by more state driven cold forms of solidarity – I hope to contribute to new forms of solidarity. After the French revolution the notion the role of the state became crucial and continued to grow until the 1980’s when the retrenchment of the welfare state started. What arguments were used to replace warm solidarity by cold solidarity – solidarity as bureaucracy one might be tempted to say with Weber (Tonkens, 2018). What kind of arguments were used for this transfer from voluntary private associations to the state? Should we not be more critical about rights’ talk and community driven social work? Both are quite popular among critical social workers ( Mounk, 2017) but strengthen in many cases an individualizing approach asking what everybody’s personal responsibility as an individual and as a citizen are. Should we not go back to questions about what are good and just institutions for social work. Keeping history in mind, Tronto’s institutional view on care – as opposed to a neoliberal or a conservative view – seems to be a good starting point for an alternative approach to solidarity.
As a global phenomenon, the aging of population challenges the welfare services in most of the countries. Social work is a profession committed to meet the needs of seniors, one of the need is keeping connection to society and social networks. Research indicated the usage of ICT could enrich social interaction, therefore some welfare services have been provided on supporting seniors using ICT in Finland and China. This article deals with two cases which are the welfare services projects on supporting seniors using ICT both aimed at improving and enhancing the quality of life among older adults in Finland and China. The data collection methods used were participant observation, focus group interviews with the elderly participants, interviews with the practitioners as well as the project’s documents. From the multi-sectors service perspective, comparative research method has been implied to identify the essential features of the role and task of different sectors in the two cases. As conclusion, although Finland and China have historical and cultural differences, the social work practice for seniors are analogous in the multi-sectoral service model which consists of the third sector, the informal caring network, the public sector and the market. Furthermore, this article contributes to the method of comparative research on different social work practices. Key words: elderly, usage of ICT, social services, participation, multi-sectoral service model.
Girls, especially those who exhibit behavior that is considered nonnormative, have been one of the major targets of social work intervention since the earliest days of the profession. Feminist and intersectional theories have played a significant role in the development of social work practice with this population, contributing to the recognition that young girls in situations of distress constantly struggle and suffer from an intersection of oppressions (i.e., age, gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion). Intersectional and feminist scholars call for social work practice that investigates the reciprocal relations between structural analysis and the subjective experiences and knowledge of young girls in situations of distress. Although this theoretical development has been influential, there is a dearth of writing on the ways in which these notions are manifested in relationships between social workers and young girls in situations of distress. This study aims to deepen the understanding of how social work practice with girls and young women in situations of distress may be most effectually implemented. It seeks to enable them to voice their perspectives and create social change. Accordingly, the research questions are: What kinds of experiences do young girls in situations of distress have with social workers and welfare systems over time? How do these girls imagine effectual social work practice with young girls in situations of distress? What kind of action is needed in order to create change in this field? Methods: This qualitative feminist study is part of a larger study based on participatory action research (PAR) with young women. In-depth interviews were conducted with 25 young women (18–29) who had been labeled "girls at risk" (by social workers), taken out of their homes as children, and dealt with situations of distress. Results: Using thematic analysis, four major themes were found: life stories of girls and young women in situations of distress, meetings with social workers and the establishment of treatment, resistance, and the perspective of girls and young women on optimal therapeutic practice. In this talk, I will address the theme of resistance practices. The findings revealed that dealing with situations of distress, as well as meeting with social workers and other caregivers such as family, friends, and partners, led to the use of individual resistance practices by the girls and young women. Four modes of resistance were revealed: cooperating/not cooperating; attacking as self-defense; helping others; and engaging in self-advocacy. The first two practices were used mainly during adolescence and the last two in early adulthood. Conclusions and implications: Based on the findings, I will present examples from each of the modes of resistance and offer a critical therapeutic practice model for social workers as a guide for working with resistance. Step One: "Identify, Observe, and Recognize" – What is Resistance for You? When, why, and whom do you resist in your life?"; Step Two: The Archeology of Resistance –"Let's talk about one story in depth."; Step Three: Expanding the Alternatives – "Resistance as a Site of Opportunities"; and Step Four: "Joining the Resistance."
The word ‘solidarity’ is based on the idea of moral and social togetherness. It demands a societal perspective on the tasks of social work. It asks for willingness and competency of social workers to relate concrete individual problems to the design of social policy and a sharp analysis of the extent in which social policy contributes to societal conditions in which everyone is able to live a dignified life. In the Netherlands, we can observe a lot of controversy in the social domain between research, policy makers, practitioners and service users. The inherent values of social work, social justice and human rights, are closely connected with the idea of solidarity. However, these values are often subordinated in neoliberal social policies and practitioners find themselves in situations in which clients are mangled by bureaucracy or in which human dignity is at stake. There seems to be a gap between the daily practice of social work and policy makers. In other words, social workers seem to be alienated from the policies that underlie their daily work (Tummers, 2012). Social workers do not always find themselves in a position that enables them to participate in public discourse and to critically question decisions of politicians and policymakers, since they are depended on the goodwill of their employers and local government. According to Hannah Arendt active participation in the public debate is an inseparable part of the human condition (Arendt, 1958) and for social workers, as agents of ‘social change and development, social cohesion, empowerment and liberation’ (IFSW, 2014) an inseparable part of their profession. Contributing to increased solidarity in society requires active political involvement. In daily practice however, the tasks of social work focus on wellbeing of individuals, stimulating participation and preventing society against inadequate behavior of citizens. Extensive guidelines give direction to client support and solution-focused methods seem to be dominant. Public professionals do experience a gap between social policy and daily practice, (Tummers, 2012) but to what extent is active involvement by political decision-making and policy-development seen as part of the social work profession? This paper gives insights in the current social work discourse in the Netherlands with regard to the political. It shows how social workers see their contribution to the public debate and in how far political involvement is seen as an essential part of the social work profession. It also holds some results of a small quantitative survey among students of social work about their social work orientation with regard to the political dimension, based on Malcolm Paynes minor paradigms. (Payne, 1990/20144).
Introduction: The phenomenon of volunteering among adolescents is drawing a great deal of attention from scholars and practitioners. 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 in a critical life-stage. In this study, we aspired to expand the current knowledge of the links between personal resources (Self-Evaluation, Sense of Mastery, and Attitude Towards Animals), environmental resource (Social Support), and organizational resources (Attitude of Instructors, and Organizational Commitment) – to adjustment variables (Subjective Well-Being, Future Orientation, and Leadership Ability). Furthermore, we investigated the changes in these variables on the course of time, through comparing their levels among the adolescents at the start of their volunteering, and several months after that. During that time, these adolescents are experiencing, possibly for the first time in their lives, a prolonged period of volunteering for the sake of others. The main study questions were: Is there an improvement in the levels of adjustment variables of youth volunteers (in the two periods examined)? And which factors contribute the most to the prediction of three adjustment variables (Namely: Subjective Well-Being, Future Orientation, Leadership Ability) in the second time-period? Method: The study was a quantitative one, and was based on questionnaires distributed during 2015-2017 to 113 adolescents who volunteered in a center of therapeutic riding in Israel. Data was collected in two time-periods. Data in T1 was collected a month after the volunteers first started their volunteer action (Nov-Dec). Data in T2 was collected after roughly 6 months (Apr-Jun). Findings: We found significant improvements in the levels of all adjustment variables (Subjective Well-Being, Future Orientation, Leadership Ability). We also found positive correlations between these three variables and self-evaluation, sense of mastery, social support, organizational commitment, and attitude towards animals. Attitude of instructors was found correlated only to subjective well-being and future orientation, but not to leadership ability. Discussion and Conclusions: The volunteering of adolescents is contributing to the development of personal abilities (namely, subjective well-being and future orientation) and several other important attributes in the adjustment of adolescents (such as leadership abilities), both in the short and the long run. Hence, the volunteering of adolescents combines both personal and societal development, and as such – the social contribution of volunteering is manifested in building a strong and sustainable base of the future generation as active and involved citizens. The research and practical implications are also discussed.
For the first time an ERAMUS exchange program was realized 2017/2018 with the University of Tifariti, located in the refugee camps of the saharawi people in south-west Algeria. Students and professors from the Carinthian University of applied sciences and the University of Tifariti traveled within the frame of ERASMUS and made specific experiences of social work and its political dimensions, including the partner Universities of Cologne, Ljubljana and Vienna. How far is understanding and scientific exchange possible under such different political, economic, social and historical circumstances? And what means solidarity at an institutional level at all? The first experiences in this offcial cooperation program lead to a bunch of things, that have to be cleared before solidarity can take place.
This paper analyses social work from the point of contemporary citizenship theory. Historically social work and citizenship have been linked together in political struggles for social reforms. As a profession social work has also played vital role in implementing welfare state policies. However, our analyse suggests that the economic and social changes of our time have radically changed the context of social work, creating a need to reconceptualise the relation between social work and social citizenship. The need for this type of critical thinking is foremost presented in the uncomfortable relationship between social work and welfare state. The existing welfare states do not represent the values of social citizenship in the way they used to do, thus placing social work in an ethically difficult position. The immediate reason why cooperation between social work and welfare state has eroded, is in the welfare cuts and austerity policies made possible by neoliberal political climate. The effect of neoliberalism culminates in more market oriented service production, and in workfare –type activation policies that make social rights increasingly conditional. As a result of this, it can be argued that welfare state has retreated from its social obligations, leaving social work alone to deal with increasing rate of poverty and inequality. The answers citizenship theory can give to these dilemmas are associated to seeing citizenship as an on-going political struggle for equality, rather than a historical achievement. Contemporary citizenship theory is also deeply concerned with the erosion of 20th century social citizenship. The reasons of this erosion are only partly connected with neoliberalism. Even more fundamental reasons for the erosion of social citizenship are embedded in the economic and cultural transformations of recent decades, transforming social structures on which welfare states were built. Critical citizenship theory also exposes fundamental flaws in the political ideology of welfare states, such as their dependency on nation state, attachment to traditional concepts of family and sexuality, and also their tendency to overlook the minorities and seeing the ‘other’ as a potential enemy. As a result of the erosion social citizenship has lost its universal nature, leaving groups of citizens to a state of ‘semi-citizenship’ at the margins of the society. In our paper we emphasize that the critical themes of contemporary citizenship theory can contribute to theory and praxis of social of social work. Citizenship theory society can be an important companion to social work as they both seek to renew social citizenship and promote equality. Political struggle to a more equal and fair society must pay special attention to the problems of economically underprivileged social groups such as precariat and long term unemployed people. Secondly citizenship theory emphasises respect towards the ‘other’. Renewal of social citizenship must ne built on recognition of cultural minorities, and it must highlight their social importance. This is also an important aspect of social work, and already to some extend recognised in discussions which see social work as human rights profession.
Social work practise has conventionally been restricted into particular national contexts due to differences in social work traditions, social systems, social problems and cultures. However, the dynamics of globalisation has radically changed nation-states, creating a need to redefine the understanding of citizenship in a local, national and global levels. Foundations of citizenship in areas of redistribution and recognition, as well as in the area of rights and duties are in need of critical re-evaluation and struggle. An especially important topic in this change is the relation of citizenship and human rights, as it has become increasingly obvious that social rights are not any more capable on their own to protect the human condition. Moreover, the world system follows the logic of ‘global domestic politics’, where geographical, cultural, social and political separation between native and foreign is disintegrating. Paradoxically, this has led to the appearance of nationalism and protectionism in the policies of nation states. These policies are first of all manifested in populistic right-wing movements, but also neoliberal welfare policies reinforce the construction of citizenship by separating those how are deserving and ‘undeserving’. These effects come up in social work practices intentionally or unintentionally by applying different approaches. In this paper we tie together these discussions of citizenship and social work practise in the context of recent political trends. Although well justifiable according to the knowledge of social science, the emancipatory approach to extend conventional ideas of citizenship, it faces resistance from contemporary populist and nationalistic political movements. This situation is paradoxical because also populist political movements base their political mandate on an underprivileged group of people, namely those citizens who are living in fragile life situations within the nation state.
In last years the attention on mesaures on child poverty and deprivation increased in Europe. The European Union Commission's recommendation “Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage” reinforced the attention on this topic. The availabilty of data from EU-SILC child specific module on deprivation, nourished the interest on children deprivation. Children deprivation has relevance for the present well-being of children, but also for the future of societies. Studies demonstrate that experience poor living conditions and deprivation has effect in the adulthood. Children deprivation has been described in its multidimensional nature. Previous research referer to approaches like as capabilities approaches and social exclusion to identify dimensions relevant. Regarding children deprivation it is important even to consider the children right approach. It has been also stressed out the specific features of children deprivation and, in some measure, its indepence from adulthood measure of deprivation and family income. In these context the current research aim to give a contribution on the debate of children material deprivation, and give support to policies. Even though indicators are related to material aspect, most of them can be considered as proxies even of social and relational aspects of children's life conditions. What are the pattern of children deprivation in the European Union? And what are differences between differen countries? The availability dataset of 2014 EU-SILC wave suggests also the possibility to study the macro-variation of that phenomenon througt the economic crise. And thus asking if the the economic crise affect the pattern of child deprivation, and how it did. The current study will be carried out from EU-SILC dataset (wave 2009 and 2014). The availability does not allow a longitudinal analysis, thus will be carried out a crosso sectiona analysis. Then will be compared the macrovariation. Data will be analyzed according two main approaches: cluster analysis and index analysis. The latter one will be based on multilevel model. These different techniques are aimed to compare how dimensions of child deprivation are more relevant. Since the research is progress, there are no results already available nowaday, But exploratory analysis are running. The definition of child deprivation and thus the choice of relvant dimension to measure it, is the result of different theoretical framework, and- like as it has been did in this research- the contribution of qualitative research on children well-being. It is expected to have different results from the two techniques above mentioned. These arise an issue: it is possible to refine a definition of children deprivation? Can be it more and more comprehensive of aspects related to children well-being (not only material well-being)? In which measure the household deprivation have to be considered in measuring child deprivation?
What is considered as team work depends a lot on area or profession where team work is studied (i.e. health care, pedagogy). Team work is widely known type of work in different areas - also in social work. From the literature we can notice that authors present different typologies of team work and also definition of team work itself. Usually in papers it is also not clearly defined what authors have in mind when they are writing about team work. In social work in last couple of decades the most frequently used typology is the one that divides team work into multi-professional, inter-professional and trans-professional team work (Thylefors et al. 2005) regarding role specialization and interdependence of work. In social work in Slovenia, not a lot of articles or researches address team work itself. Texts about team work have similar weaknesses as in other countries. They do not operationalize team work and often use terms such as interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary as synonyms. I will present some preliminary findings of ongoing research about team work in Slovenia based on mixed methodology with following research questions: How team work is understood and defined by social workers in Slovenia? When and how is team work used in social work in Slovenia? How well are social workers in Slovenia equipped for team work in social work? What is connected to how often social workers use this kind of work and the quality of team work? By now I studied some secondary data (diploma thesis, master thesis, articles, legislation etc.) and gathered preliminary data in 2 focus groups (n=9) and 4 interviews with students of social work and social workers from Centers of social work. Data show a very wide use of term “team work” among practitioners – for group work with purposes such as support (intervision), collaboration with other professionals and/or users, planning of future work, organizational planning etc. Also discrepancies between terms used in legislation and theory of team work in social work can be observed. So the question remains, what can be considered as team work in social work and when other methods or ways of doing social work (i. e. individual project group in foster care) are maybe more appropriate terms. And also, can team work in social work really be called special method or maybe it is primary a way of conducting social work working relationship (Čačinovič Vogrinčič 2008) mostly with other professionals, co-workers?
Among the large numbers of asylum seekers who arrived in Germany especially between 2015 and 2017 are many youth and young adults. The labor market integration of this population is a major challenge of the contemporary German society. There is also a growing field of research visible producing knowledge connected to this issues but in-depth studies reconstructing the subjective experiences of young people are rare. This has led me to focus with my doctoral thesis on this field of research to produce relevant knowledge for the social work arena in the context of migration and integration/inclusion. The presentation will introduce my ongoing qualitative PhD project which explores pathways of young people into and through vocational education. The research design is an open and qualitative approach led by the following research questions: - How do young adults experience and perceive their transitions into and through vocational education? - Which challenges, barriers and problems do they face and wich coping strategies and practices do they develop? - Which structures, actors or social spaces do they experience as (not) supportive? - which ideas or wishes for a decent vocational education do they have? The presentation will highlight important research from a literature review and introduce the research design and the ongoing research process such as data collection, triangulation, field access, data analysis strategies and preliminary findings. Furthermore aspects around research ethics and participation and subjectivity will be discussed.
This contribute aims to present an innovative intervention of Community mediation in a context of council housing. The experience was realized by an Italian voluntary organization and it included the use of a dialogical approach, namely Future Dialogue. This method shown to be useful to cope with worrying and high conflict situations within families living together in a council housing building. Dialogicity, respect for the Other and participation of service users in the construction and development of their help path, encouraged by Future Dialogue method, allowed a positive mediation of the conflicts within the inhabitants. Furthermore, through this dialogical method, it was possible to support the development of preventive actions, the promotion of mutuality and good neighbourliness. In this presentation, the efficacy of Future Dialogue with refer to the methodological steps is explained. Finally, several points of contact between the Future Dialogue method and the Relational Social Work are clarified.
Practices of Accessibility in Social Work In this presentation, we start from the premise that the debate on accessibility to societal resources tends to focus on access in terms of better, more or more fluid access. For instance, the quality of policy is often measured to the extent to which services are accessible. In this vein, access is approached as quality criterium, but foremost for those who are already accessed any particular service. Potential clients are likely to be rejected, particularly if such clients are perceived as too complex or not motivated. It appears outreach work is deployed as an answer to problems with inaccessibility for complex groups which are perceived as hard to reach. However, this occurs in a policy context in which avoiding excessive or problematic access is an important goal and access needs to be managerially approached. Based on nearly finished PhD. research, in this presentation, I will elaborate on the heuristic concept of 'practices of accessibility'. This concept challenges the above depicted dominant approach of 'managing' access, an approach which is often based on scientific and rational-technical understandings of access. Lorenz argued that due lack of theoretical reflection "social policy pressures will de facto determine the direction of future methodological developments" (2008: 628). This likely results in a muted social work, expropriated from its own language but also in a social work deployable for improper discourses and regimes. For instance, outreach work may be approached as a useful instrument to get people of the street, without questioning how their situation is related with structural mechanisms of poverty, processes of marginalization and advanced liberalism. Rather than ignoring the inherent tensional character of social work between private needs and public responsibility, conceptualizing outreach work as a possible 'practice of accessibility' opens the potential to bring in the social in each and every situation. In this vein, outreach possibly functions as a critical actor for regular services and basic institutions to rethink their access policies and practices and for society in general and how is dealt with processes of marginalization. Based on fieldwork in the context of outreach work towards homeless in Antwerp (B), we present our main findings which direct attention towards the importance of (1) approaching social work as a democratic practice, (2) starting from the lived citizenship of homeless and their experiences of inaccessibility and (3) continuously challenging processes of managing access which hides more social and political issues in the local context. Whilst outreach work itself is not free from managerial processes, in some cases critical and entrepreneurial agency in outreach work opened at least new possibilities. References Lorenz, W. (2008). Paradigms and Politics: Understanding Methods Paradigms in an Historical Context: The Case of Social Pedagogy. British Journal of Social Work 38. Doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn025.
Introduction: Disparities in substance use treatment (SUT) among varying types of migrants and ethnic minorities (MEM) compared to non-MEM counterparts are documented extensively across the continents. These disparities regard access, referral, diagnosis, waiting times, retention rates and presence across the treatment spectrum. Since the turn of the century cultural competence (CC) gained influence in SUT theory and practice as an effective response to overcome these disparities. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how CC is related to these disparities. This paper aims at understanding (1) the nature and origin of CC in SUT, (2) the premises of CC argumentation in SUT, (3) how CC theory components are questioned, (4) to what degree CC SUT outcomes correspond to these premises and finally (5) what is left unquestioned in the CC literature. Methods: We conducted a literature review (2007-2017) focused on CC SUT aimed at MEM. The literature search located 41 meta-, narrative, systematic, conceptual, historical and other reviews of models and components of CC in SUT. We applied Bacchi’s “What’s the problem represented to be?” approach (2009) thus analysing problem representations, underpinning presumptions, how the former are questioned and what is left unquestioned. The identified CC presuppositions are categorised following an ecosocial perspective (micro, meso, macro). Results: Most of the identified studies build on Cross et.al.’s (1989) CC definition. (1) Northern American studies mainly describe individual and organisational CC as well as culturally adapted interventions. Scholars from mainly Australia, Canada and New-Zealand describe culture-based intervention strategies for indigenous populations. Little EU studies were located. (2) Presuppositions in arguing for CC and culture-based approaches are mainly located at the macro level (disparities in [mental] health, dominant [professional] cultures, increasing diversity in society and the right to health), meso and micro level argumentation are described extensively, but to a lesser degree. (3) Questioned issues are CC’s culturalising and stereotyping effects, the limitations of CC, ‘the universalist stance’ and CC conceptual vagueness. (4) Most outcome indicators focus on workforce (meso) and intervention (micro) and not the system level. (5) Unproblematised themes are high rates of incarceration of MEM groups, prevalence rates as presuppositions, the lack of accessibility to SUT as a component of CC, the lack of comparing provider to user perspectives in outcome studies and the use of prevention literature in arguing for CC in SUT. Discussion: CC relies largely on the underlying and often unproblematised assumptions of what ‘culture’ is. Also, many of its presuppositions are in line with social recovery movement argumentation. Although most studies that argue for CC SUT do so from a health inequality perspective only some identify how components of CC work to reduce these disparities. Future research should focus on how the identified components both individually and conjointly address specific SUT disparities, how they are applied in SUT practice and whether they are in line with SUT needs and perspectives of service users with varying MEM backgrounds. Lastly, the lack of monitoring and the proliferation of derived CC concepts in the EU should be further examined.
In my paper I am going to present the examples of good practice of the Municipality of Ilirska Bistrica, Jelšane Primary School, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and Planica Institute to reduce the effects of social and economic inequality of primary school students, which can be put into practice in any municipality and school in Slovenia and elsewhere. This is done by The Rules on Financing the School in Nature from the Budget of Municipality of Ilirska Bistrica, Jelšane Primary School Fund (or any other school’s fund), the subsidies of the Ministry and Planica Institute . The Rules and their corrections enable parents to submit an application form to get the school in nature subsidised. School counsellors are obliged to act accordingly to them and issue an order by which children are allocated from 25% to 100% of the school in nature fee. Primary school can also use its school fund, which is financed by donations and sponsorship money, to pay for travel and other fees for the students who cannot afford it. The Ministry of Education allocates each year to all the students of grade 5 the sum that covers the costs of school in nature basic programme. Planica Institute assigns each year to each student from grade 2 a sum to pay for the cost of swimming lessons.
This paper argues that professional social workers require an understanding of irregular migrants’ pre-migration experiences and their cultural contexts to deliver effective support to those with precarious migration status. Background: The global population of irregular migrants is increasing and irregular status has been found to be associated with poverty, exploitation, forced labour and poor mental health. Given the size of the irregular population worldwide, the enhanced social needs and the conditional rights associated with “illegal” status, social workers are likely to be involved in providing services for irregular migrants. However, social work practice is subject to contradictory mandates; in many national contexts practitioners’ responsibilities to support vulnerable groups conflict with duties to report immigration offences and limit access to welfare based on legal status. A small number of studies have explored the challenges involved in professional practice with irregular migrants. However, existing research has focused on migrants’ social needs in the host country with limited consideration of migrants’ lives before they became irregular and their cultural worldviews. Methods: This paper draws on empirical findings from life story interviews with 14 Chinese irregular migrants and two key informants in the UK. Participants were invited to tell their stories about migrating to the UK. Interviews were semi-structured and a topic guide was used to elicit both pre and post migration experiences. Narrative analysis of the interviews was conducted paying attention to the ways participants’ stories unfolded and were performed. Findings: Findings indicate that pre-migration experiences and cultural worldviews shape migration trajectories. Individual factors such as age of migration, family position and socio-economic status prior to migration affected participants’ motivations to migrate and their experiences of irregular status. Chinese cultural master narratives connecting migration with economic success and development were also weaved into migrants’ individual narratives and contributed to participants’ willingness to tolerate irregular status as a necessary sacrifice for their own and their families’ future. Implications for social work practice: By revealing the importance of understanding pre-migration experiences and cultural contexts, this paper contributes to knowledge about how social work practice can effectively meet the needs of irregular migrants.
ABSTRACT It has been proven that male and female consumers demonstrate significant access to decision-making and behavior toward buying them in clothing bargains for a variety of reasons. For these reasons, this study focuses on determining the degree of gender affecting the purchasing behavior of consumers buying fashion items and determining the differences between men's and women's clothing, buying behavior may change. The sample group for this study aims to identify the differences between male and female consumers from a gender perspective by examining their buying behavior in relation to fashion and brand awareness, the customer group consisted of 392 randomly selected customers . The data used in this study were collected using a scaling tool consisting of 29 Questions compiled by the researcher. The collected data were analyzed and then the use of the SPSS (Social Science Statistics Pack) was used. As a result of this study, it was determined that male and female consumers have different perceptions and preferences regarding fashion and brand awareness in their demographic characteristics were influencing the purchase of clothing or other accessories and that women were more influenced from fashion while men were most influenced by the brand name. Key words: male, female, gender, clothing, consumer.
Counselling is in permanent motion. Nestmann et al. (2014) have classified counselling as a functional system in modern societies to help and solve individual problems of needy and advice seeking people. They emphasize the connection between individual matters of concerns for counselling and the socially and structural determination of these problems. Therefor counselling institutions have to prove if their offers still fit for the needs of the service users. Within the broadness of counselling offers, the child and familiy counsultation services are important and frequently claimed aid institutions within the children’s service system in Germany. The child and family counsultation services are also exposed to these dynamic movements, which makes a self-reflective analysis of their own offers and institutional concept necessary (cf. Rietmann / Sawatzki 2017, Vossler 2003). These counselling institutions are affected for many reasons: There is a institutional-orientated structure (service users have to go to the counselling center), a dominant orientation on service users from middle class layers, an excessive therapeutic view and trends of depoliticization (cf. Kirst 2006, Vossler 2003, Jugendhilfe Effekte-Studie 2001, Sawatzki 2016, Hundsalz 2014, Rietmann / Sawatzki 2017). Consequently, the perspective development of the child and family consultation services, generates research desiderata. Existing empirical analyzes are limited to the topics of satisfaction and effectiveness. For example, a large number of catamnestic studies (cf. Vossler 2003), satisfaction evaluations (cf. Roesler 2014) and currently a comprehensive impact assessment (cf. "Wir.EB" 2016) give the child and family consultation services a predominantly positive testimonial. Problematic: The satisfaction of the service users does not allow statements about the child and family consultation services in general. In particular, the aspects and influences of the profession of consultants and the institutional knowledge are often neglected. That’s why this PhD-project tries, based on theoretical aspects of profession, institution and adressing-processes, to analyze subjective meanings of consultants and service users. Problem-centered interviews (cf. Witzel 2001) will be carried out and analyzed in terms of content analysis according to Gläser / Laudel. In addition, the unrivalled clients are asked about their expectations using standardized questionnaires based on previously determined items. The results are evaluated with SPSS and fed back with the findings from the problem-centered interviews. The research question is: Which influence have the profession of consultants and the institutional knowledge on adressing-processes of service users and what are the consequences on the prospective conception of the child and family consultation services in the context of a modern, client-oriented and service-oriented child and youth welfare service.
Challenging Normality: Scrutinising notions of cultural competence Washington Marovatsanga Nearly all social work colleges in Ireland now teach equality, diversity and multicultural studies in some form or shape. Some social work organisations have further devised their own cultural competence training programmes, as well as having imported some ‘tried and tested’ cultural competence models from abroad. Embracing such approaches emanate from assumptions that these models can transform social workers into sensitive and culturally competent practitioners by equipping them with awareness, knowledge, skills and inductive learning. However, despite the proliferation of such models, Irish practitioners’ interventions with Black African ethnic minorities continue to generate controversy and disquiet. This presentation explains why the approach adopted by Irish social work has possibly not been effective. My ongoing thesis, from which this presentation is drawn, locate current approaches to cultural competence within liberal and conservative understanding of multiculturalism that focus on texts that describe strategies of working with a particular ethnic minority group in a stereotypical manner that precludes power analysis of institutional racism. Often, discussions of social relations of inequality are presented in ahistorical universal terms bereft of class and economic analysis; thus, these fail to link racism to social and economic injustice. My findings further suggest that Irish social work should instead adopt teaching of ‘critical multiculturalism’ including critical whiteness studies. This involves denaturalising whiteness as the ‘privileged place of racial normativity’. Arguably, critical whiteness studies shifts the focus from ethnic minorities and helps to illuminate ‘the everyday, invisible, subtle, cultural and social practices, ideas and codes that discursively secure the power and privilege of white people’ which ‘remains unmarked, unnamed, and unmapped in contemporary society’ (Shome, 1996, p. 503). Consequently, re-articulating whiteness as more a social construction and a form of domination than a biological category, white students/practitioners/educators can arrive at narratives of ‘whiteness’ that both challenge and open space for transforming the dominant relationship between racial identity and citizenship (Nylund, 2005). My findings also suggest the change needed for white Irish social workers to include new theoretical perspectives: for example, Carpenter (2005), Freire (1970) and Bourdieu. In this vein, it is suggested, that a move should take place which moves from mere cultural ‘competences’ (knowledge of cultural differences and awareness) to a position of ‘cultural humility’. The latter, for Ross (2010) requires practitioners to shift beyond knowledge of cultural practices (content competencies found in current models) to cognitive competencies that include critical discourse awareness and analysis as seen through historicising racial legacies. This approach involves adopting a commitment to ongoing critical self-critique/self-reflexivity and the problematizing of one’s own dispositions/habitus. Cultural humility may engender new subject positions, alliances, commitments, and forms of solidarity between white students/practitioners and others struggling for cultural democracy and a redistribution of power and material resources. In short, cultural humility therefore potentially offers a more practical and ethically acceptable way forward than does the notion of cultural competence.
In search of theoretical paradigms freedom, equality and solidarity can serve as normative points of reference to legitimate and foundate social work. Current discussions in this context mainly focus on human rights and social justice as the basic normative principles. This paper tries to put forward a different conception by placing democracy and the status of free and equal citizenship in the center of reflection. In democratic constitutional states there is "a clash” between social inequalities as a result of capitalist societies and the status of free and equal citizens guaranteed by the constitution. This paper argues that social work, by mediating between the individual and the society, is not only confronted with this “clash”. Considering its theoretical framework, it can be shown that there is a direct link between social work and citizenship. In the line of argumentation, the notion of social work as “Bildungsarbeit” is fundamental. Following this social work works with the individuals on the one hand and on societal structures on the other - in order to promote democracy, to overcome social inequalities and to empower the individual. Based on these assumptions the hypotheses are: (1) Referring to Habermas´s theoretical framework concerning the internal relationship of democracy, constitutional state and basic rights (especially in “Between Facts and Norms. Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy”) it can be shown that social rights are the necessary condition for the possibility of exercising civil and political rights. In the logical genesis of rights, they can be justified only in relative terms, as they result from the status of free and equal active citizens, which is implicative of civil and political rights. However, this relative justification does not mean they are of minor relevance. On the contrary: without social rights, civil and political rights cannot be realized. Social rights are the necessary condition for the possibility of realizing the status of free and equal active citizens and the individual´s private and political autonomy. (2) Taking into account that rights are meaningless if there are no social conditions available for the individual to realize them, this paper argues that social rights implemented and guaranteed by a welfare state - including financial support, social benefits and social services - is needed but not sufficient. (3) In connecting the previous points with the notion of social work as “Bildungsarbeit” it can be shown that - in its distinctive capacity to connect to the individuals’s horizons of meaning and sense making - social work is crucial for the individual to really make use of his or her status as an equal free citizen and therefore for realizing democratic conditions. The paper will end with some conclusions concerning the consequences that arise from this theoretical consideration.
Death is today unanimously represented in modern societies as a feeling of repulse, fear, anguish and ache (Kubler, 1996:17; Burke, 1999:1; Elias, 1983:36; Barros, 2012: 1). The progress of medicine made average life expectation increase possible, becoming death experience a much farther reality. Furthermore, today death frequently takes place in healthcare facilities, full of regulations, in an environment far away from the family. The fight against death has become a scientific obsession and its lost a failure (Vasconcelos, 2012:200). This denial of death can portray feelings of strength and self-restraint but denying oneself to mourn without expressing pain and sadness can contribute to a higher risk of mental illness. According to Kovács (2003, in Corelli, 2012:3), this mental illness is becoming a public health issue. An issue to the patient who loses someone close to him and to the caregiver who deals with death on a daily basis. Currently terminal patients are assisted in an institutional network of hospitals, palliative care units or nursehousing facilities in which the social worker is part of multidisciplinary teams or heads these units. The emergence of this new professional reality is urging to a more scientific approach of social service. Many are the authors who are concerned with the fact that social worker isn’t prepared to deal with death, which can lead to a state of professional burn-out (Kubler, 1996: 43; Ahya, 1999:41, Burke, 1999:5). Carlos Barros (2012:2) emphasizes that the social worker’s relationship with the client experiencing a process of death or mourning is a too regulatory one. This happens because the social worker isn’t technically prepared to face death in a different perspective, but this reveals itself insufficient towards present demands. This study scientific relevance and purpose comes into view in this concern, its wide inspiration is to understand the social worker’s struggle with death in a work environment whether in palliative care units or nursehousings. It is very important to identify and compare the social worker’s academic background vs the feelings when confronted with death, in order to access and reassess the work being done with the terminal patient and his family. The better way to achieve this is by using the qualitative method of interviews with semi-structured questions and focus groups, as it allows unveiling the reality and work environment of the social worker when dealing with this still recent approach in the social service field. This project is in the exploratory phase, it is necessary to expand bibliographic study with the intent of making its theoretical bases and investigation solid.
In recent years, a growing interest arose to provide services in an integrated manner. As a consequence, partnerships, cooperation, and networking of organizations are became really crucial. Networks, especially target-oriented ones, play a relevant role in social services scope. Nowadays, social changes make the management of social services more complicated than in the past since many new services need collective actions and the involvement of various stakeholders. This paper focuses on the new forms of management that can underpin the contemporary challenges, especially those related to the globalization of social risks. Indeed, social changes have a serious impact on social service organizations, many of them are inadequate because of their rigidity, old "career paths", and lack of lifelong learning programs. We will illustrate how network management can give managerial opportunities for more flexible assistance, mutual provision of a social service, improvement of social workers, access for professional groups at various levels of qualifications, diversification of social work in various environments: high-urbanized, small towns, rural areas. This article will demonstrate the importance of network management for the organization and delivery of efficient social services.
The article presents the results of the first research on the multidimensional effects of the program "500+ Program", which is a payment of 500 złotych (about 120 euros) per month for the second and a further child in the family (in exceptional situations for the first child). In addition to the planned effects Program also initiated discussions on a new approach in social policy and the practical application of the investment paradigm of social policy, including new values in the State's activities. Its influence is also noticeable in the transformation of the system of social services and standards and methods used by social workers. In Poland, as in many other European countries, we observe the fertility crisis. It is characterized by the lack of generational replacement and the aging of society. All the potential consequences, are difficult to predict today, but for sure they will have a great influence on the economic and social life. This situation prompted politicians to propose a "500+ Program". For social policy, not only planed results become important. Previously unplanned effects, which include radical poverty reduction, stigma of large families, changes the perception of the social welfare system. There are new proposals for social programs based on the principles highlighted in the investment paradigm.
Whether on the basis of embodied categories such as race or gender, or through diagnoses and suffering bodies, the body is said to constitute the political battleground for social in- and exclusion. This study is inspired methodologically by moral anthropological approaches and draws on scholarship that foregrounds the pivotal role of the body for political recognition and rights claims in humanitarian and other ‘moral’ interventions. I examine two analytically separated moral economies, the moral economy of care versus justice, as they manifest in child welfare responses to bodily vulnerability. A sample of investigations from a Swedish municipality, all addressing violations of children’s bodies or integrity, are used as empirical material. The article shows the objectified psychosomatically damaged bodies being best ‘heard’ as vulnerable. I argue that such a moral economy of care silences children’s accounts of racial and gendered injustices. Furthermore, a differentiation in the moralities mobilised when different child bodies are addressed suggests that a version of a moral economy of justice, i.e. a juridical moral response, is being used in unjust ways that reproduce racialized othering while leaving institutional racism without response. While central for a critical social work, equality, social justice and rights issues are downplayed in assessments, and largely lack corresponding welfare measures. A concluding remark is a need of a radical shift within social policy towards structural power perspectives which would not only require a re-thinking of vulnerability but also the role of child welfare itself and its individualised services. Key words: moral economy; child welfare; body; critical social work; othering, violence
Substance consumption and violent behaviours of adolescents are becoming a worrisome phenomenon in Albania, especially for families, schools and communities, as well. In planning school and community prevention programs for such behaviors, as social researchers, educators and policy makers we must acquire broad insight into the dynamics of these behaviours, as well as the individual and social factors that expose the adolescents in risk taking behaviors. This paper introduces participants to the process of conducting a cross sectional study using a risk assessment methodology in exploring 13-17 years old adolescents’ perceptions, preferences, past and actual risky behaviors, regarding to their experiences and relations with parents, teachers, peers and the community. A multi stratified sample of 1300 middle and high school students, from the highest density areas of Albania, responded to a self reported questionnaire, measuring the prevalence and incidence of substance use, delinquency and other dangerous behaviors. The instrument is constructed in scale and assesses the influence of the risk factors distributed into five domains: individual, family, peers, school and community in predicting adolescents’ drug use and related dangerous behaviors. Using descriptive and inferential analysis, results showed that there are multiple risk factors throughout all domains that encourage and increase the engagement in such behaviours. Multifactorial and logistic regression analysis indicated that boys and younger adolescents, those who reported of having had poor parental monitoring, family conflicts, early onset age of antisocial behaviour, peers with antisocial behaviours and attitudes, lack of interest in school activities and high transitions in community, had the highest frequency and incidence of the measured behaviours. Findings from the current study suggest that effective prevention programs of the dangerous behaviours of children and adolescents must use an ecologic approach and focus in the interaction between two and more social systems, where the child spends most of time and socializes, such as family, school and neighbourhood. Such approach would facilitate effective monitoring, identifying and mitigating the influences that put the adolescents in risk of behaving criminally and antisocially.
Substance consumption and violent behaviours of adolescents are becoming a worrisome phenomenon in Albania, especially for families, schools and communities, as well. In planning school and community prevention programs for such behaviors, as social researchers, educators and policy makers we must acquire broad insight into the dynamics of these behaviours, as well as the individual and social factors that expose the adolescents in risk taking behaviors. This paper introduces participants to the process of conducting a cross sectional study using a risk assessment methodology in exploring 13-17 years old adolescents’ perceptions, preferences, past and actual risky behaviors, regarding to their experiences and relations with parents, teachers, peers and the community. A multi stratified sample of 1300 middle and high school students, from the highest density areas of Albania, responded to a self reported questionnaire, measuring the prevalence and incidence of substance use, delinquency and other dangerous behaviors. The instrument is constructed in scale and assesses the influence of the risk factors distributed into five domains: individual, family, peers, school and community in predicting adolescents’ drug use and related dangerous behaviors. Using descriptive and inferential analysis, results showed that there are multiple risk factors throughout all domains that encourage and increase the engagement in such behaviours. Multifactorial and logistic regression analysis indicated that boys and younger adolescents, those who reported of having had poor parental monitoring, family conflicts, early onset age of antisocial behaviour, peers with antisocial behaviours and attitudes, lack of interest in school activities and high transitions in community, had the highest frequency and incidence of the measured behaviours. Findings from the current study suggest that effective prevention programs of the dangerous behaviours of children and adolescents must use an ecologic approach and focus in the interaction between two and more social systems, where the child spends most of time and socializes, such as family, school and neighbourhood. Such approach would facilitate effective monitoring, identifying and mitigating the influences that put the adolescents in risk of behaving criminally and antisocially.
Agency and structure have long been subjects of debate in the social sciences. Agency referring to the capacity of the individual to make their own free choices and structure referring to the limitations placed on those free choices. As a social work educator in practice and in the classroom setting I have been struck by the apparent lack of agency demonstrated by social work students. They appear to be hampered by the effects of a neoliberal ideology which has led to increased levels of bureaucracy and pressure to achieve prescribed outcomes. These aspects form the structures that contribute to the diminishing of student’s sense of agency which is at risk of becoming dominated and undermined by the structures that surround them. Diminished agency is reflected in their attitudes toward learning which often takes a passive form. Passive learning is characterised by silence when students are asked to provide an opinion. There is also a reticence to offer any views which step outside expected parameters of the social work paradigm. It is therefore less common to hear students being ‘spontaneous’ in teaching sessions. Learning takes a more passive form as students tend to wait to be asked to provide evidence of what they have learned rather than taking the initiative. Learning opportunities are either missed or students appear reticent to take up the full range of opportunities in lectures and in the practice setting. Students often wait for cues to know what can be reported as learning and are at pains to give the ‘correct answers’. This paper seeks to suggest ways that students can develop a greater sense of agency via the use of active learning. Active learning contributes to a greater sense of agency as students begin to take control of their learning. This begins with assisting them to analyse their learning opportunities and to take advantage of those in full providing feedback to practice supervisors and lecturers. Active learning in supervision could take the form of leading the agenda for supervision in addition to anticipating future learning and providing evidence for this. In this way the initiative becomes student led. This proactive approach will enable students to ‘own’ the learning process and in turn provide them with the confidence to think outside the expected parameters and contribute to classroom and practice setting. Finally taking responsibility for learning also leads to deep rather than surface learning thus enabling the student to make an emotional connection. An increased sense of agency also strengthens students’ ability to empower service users and challenge oppression on all levels and places them in a much more robust position ready to exercise professional curiosity and own a professional identity which helps them become confident and courageous practitioners of the future.
The traditional welfare state became increasingly contested in political debates of the second millennium. More recent, political developments have taken a next step in the erosion of the traditional welfare state: the workfare state. Minimum income ‘safety nets’ were replaced by individualized integration contracts and personal action plan ‘trampolines’ in order to get recipients back to work as soon as possible. The combination of austerity with the glorification of efficiency involves less funding for social work, privatization of welfare provisions and cost containment.. Some scholars link these evolutions to the rise of an individual orientated, technical social worker who perpetrates to inequalities rather than combating them. These critiques forewarn of important issues, however, they also portray social work in a devolutionary, declining way. The shift toward activation logics is dominated by the research of formal, national activation policies. Only few studies concentrate on social work ideologies which underpin practices. To fill this gap, we discuss a study conducted in a public welfare center in Belgium which illustrates the complex conjunction between transitions in the welfare state and the professional ideologies of social workers. Belgian public welfare faces similar challenges as the rest of Europe. Symptomatic is the shift in the moral and legal framework of public welfare from a rights based to an activation based logic. In this paper we aim to enquire the extent to which social workers have become imbued with the workfare rhetoric because little research focuses on the operational level. A critical question arising from this is whether or not these evolutions are tangible in social workers’ practice. Therefore, we identified 6 principles of practice, we described the backgrounds of these principles and thirdly, we examined their dispersal among the respondents. Challenged by the societal and political climate, our empirically based contentions in this particular public welfare center, hand out evidence that social workers do not shift en masse to the side of workfare logics. Instead, in most cases, they accumulate multiple layers of ideas and strategies which express conjunctions with logics found in the institution, policy and societal changes. Social workers interlace and intermingle these principles into a multi-layered repertoire. Furthermore, the distribution of the principles es amongst the respondents reveals the complex conjunction between practice and societal change. Social workers hold simultaneously contradictory principles in mind when addressing public services to the users. Furthermore, the data suggest that social workers hold views and strategies which are discordant with the local or national policy.
Social work varies from country to country in terms of how the profession is taught, practiced, and regarded by society. In the West, social work commands a degree of respect and consideration as social workers play a leading role in health care, school system, and many other field of social need. In other regions of the world, the status of the social work profession in low and social impact is minimal. In the West, social work emerged in response to industrialization in the 19th Century and evolved into its current form alongside neoliberalism. In the post-Soviet realm that stretches from East Germany to Mongolia, the social work profession appeared as suddenly as the Soviet Union collapsed a quarter-century ago. As a fledgling profession, it seeks to fill the void that opened up once the Soviet-era systems of social care and protection disappeared. On the one hand, this represents a huge challenge due to the novelty of the enterprise and systemic resistance to advancement of professional social work. On the other hand, the absence of a bona fide social work profession in the Soviet Union & Co., presents an opportunity to start from scratch - to reinvent the social work profession for the needs of the 21st Century. This paper proposes paradigmatic structure of a new social work curriculum that was under development for the past several years by a consortium of social work academics from Eastern Europe and the United States. It builds on the century-old American social work tradition and syntheses it with the contemporary global social work challenges. The emphasis is on the collectivist - macro-level approach to social problems - in the tradition of Jane Addams. This paradigm reorients higher social work education toward values, knowledge, and skills that are required to to tackle social problems in the environment of economic globalization, environmental degradation, rampant militarism, and dehumanization. Beyond the curriculum presentation, this paper will discuss methodologies of teaching with an emphasis on praxis, social work and social entrepreneurship, and education as community organizing. This curriculum is currently being tested in the Republic of Moldova. This paper is the curriculum presentation and a call for action for the social work reform toward professional solidarity on the international level.
Abstract Stress and burning out at work have been in researchers’, businessmen’ and education care authorities’ focus a rather long time. The reason for such interest can be found in consequences of an increasingly frequent presence of these phenomena which significantly diminish employees’ efficiency as well as results of their endeavors. Two studies were conducted concerning the influence of stress and burning out on work active population, in two different sectors in Croatia: banks (Horvat, G., Tomašević, S. & Leutar, Z. 2016.) and primary schools Tomašević, S., Horvat, G. & Leutar, Z., 2016.). The Burn out intensity questionnaire and The Perceived Stress Scale were used as psychological measure instruments in both studies. The objective of the first study was to explore the presence of the Burn out syndrome with the banking industry employees working directly with clients. 303 examinees were included, out of which 57 male and 246 female respondents. The results showed that in a banking sector 25% of employees showed a high level of burn out and long-term stress exposure symptom, whilst 37% of respondents showed initial signs of a burnout. A low level of burn out was registered with 36% respondents. The aim of the second study was to examine the stress intensity for primary school classroom and subject teachers teaching in rural and urban areas.The study included a total of 14 primary schools - seven city and seven rural primary schools. The study included a total of 217 primary school teachers, out of whom 37 male and 180 female primary school teachers. 102 primary school classroom teachers and 115 primary school subject teachers were included in the study. The study showed that 34% primary school classroom teachers suffered from low-intensity stress, and 37% primary school classroom teachers suffered from medium-intensity stress, whereas 65% primary school subject teachers suffered from low-intensity stress, and 62% primary school subject teachers suffered from medium-intensity stress. The results obtained in both studies point to the necessity for prevention through education of employees how to cope with stress. There is also an inevitable need for continuous help in managing new stress experiences with permanent expert supervision. Keywords: burn out, stress at work, prevention, supervision
Honour related violence has been discussed in Sweden with increasing intensity since the midst of the 1990ies. We do not know whether honour related violence has been increasing during this period, but we do know that the interest in the question definitely has been increasing. In my presentation I will present a problematizing view on the penal turn of the handling of newcomers in Sweden and the role of social work in a society moving away from distributive politics towards a night-watch society. The presentation will be based on my Swedish book with the same title as this abstract. Although the social services play a central part in inquiry and assessment of family situations that involve honour related problems, social workers feel utterly uncertain while handling such cases. Social workers stress that they work with greater caution, when the concept of honour is involved. The uncertainty that social workers experience is created in a context where actors with potentially widely different perceptions of life, the world and themselves are battling about the right of defining the problem and how it ought to be solved. The questions mount: When is the situation of violence and/or oppression that the social worker is handling a cultural act of honour based violence, when is it just deviation, and when is the situation just a matter of prejudice culturalizing the social problems of the others, by creating racist stereotypes about them? The intense, general preoccupation with the field of honour related violence and oppression, is a sign of an ongoing battle about who should be entitled to control the sexuality of women, how sexuality can be expressed, who can exercise sexual actions with whom, when and how it might happen and how different societies value the combination of sex, age, religion and culture in these contexts. All political parties in the upcoming Swedish general election discuss this topic. An increasing segregation in Sweden from the beginning of the 2000’ies up to know offers a fertile soil for social relations such as the authoritative, patriarchal and hierarchical relations that honour based violence develops within. Honour based norms are nourished in introvert groups. Introversion is sustained by political, economic, and social gaps, no matter if we understand these gaps as ethnic, racial, cultural, social or religious. Huge gaps between groups in society characterize the countries that are most closely associated with honorary culture. People, including social workers, tend to believe that such gaps – although not wanted – are inevitable and natural, but they are socially created by humans and when we contribute to strengthening them, e.g. by lack of politics of distribution, society contributes to sustain norms that is disgusts. Enhancing integration is the raison d’étre of social work, but social workers are suffocating in the corridors of administration, distorting their possibility of acting in an inclusive manner. At the same time a general discourse is forcing social work into the logics of penalty cultivated by cultural stereotypes.
Implementing solidarity on global and local level – a challenge for social work The change of the socio-political and economic climate in many EU and tension between national and global as well as individual and community interests – create new challenges for social work in Europe. The concept of solidarity undergoes some transformations and becomes a redefined space for the protection of human rights and social support. Recently, Poland - a country with the strong traditions and rich practices of solidarity movements also is being in danger of great social fragmentations and hostilities. This process influences professional social work, which is reduced to administrative and politically oriented one. Professionalism is an activity which is on one hand developed by an individual and serves to form the individual, on the other hand is a social activity generated within a definite professional group and organization. The increasing significance of formal management, of quality control and standardization of procedures in social work is seen as a fundamental curtailment of the discretionary power of the front-line worker. Social worker as a controller over an individual or a group, is imposed on behalf of the state or society, and therefore generally has the adapting dimension. Critical approach shows, that in this way, social workers, despite their best intentions, formulate a social structure being the origin of individual problems and social marginalization. In context of changes appear new social problems (exclusion of the elderly, increasing number of children and families at risk, migrations) that nowadays constitute the identity and practice of social work, as well as its social functions. Reflecting on the traditional ideas and practices of solidarity also at the field of social work, and discussing the process of contemporary changes in social work as a profession, the paper/presentation will focus on its new functions and challenges on global and local level in our societies. Keywords: concepts and practices of solidarity, political and managing aspects of contemporary social work, new vision of social support, new functions of social work as a profession focused on dignity and human rights protection.
Most welfare states contend with the problem of scarcity in public services. The number of potential service users is much larger than the available public care. Waiting lists are created and have to be managed. This is an important societal and political issue, present in public opinion, in the media, in policy debates etc. The scarcity creates a need for decision-making on prioritisation: who should have priority to whom in receiving care, and why? Comparing multiple demands for help, which are all legitimate when seen separately, puts the service provider in front of a moral dilemma. Making a choice is inevitable, but there is no one right answer. There is only the possibility to decide in a way that is as just as possible. In this PhD project, we focus on this issue in the domain of youth care in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) from an ethical point of view. Which ethical principles and presuppositions do we encounter in dealing with prioritisation? What kind of decision-making process actually takes place when professionals decide on prioritisation? In what way can this decision-making process be understood as a practice of moral judgement? In this presentation, we will present the results of a systematic literature review that was executed as a first step in this research project. The results can be summarised as follows: • The limited research that was found, is mainly concentrated on the domain of child and adolescent mental health. • Need is the most cited ethical principle, but there are different interpretations of it. • There is little attention to the interaction between different perspectives (service user, professional, policy maker). • There is little attention to the discretionary power and the moral distress that come along with the decision-making. The selected literature shares a great belief in point count measuring instruments to underpin the decision-making process. Several ethical principles are put forward to tackle the problem of resource allocation, but the dilemmatic character of the problem and the inevitable space for discretion are almost completely out of sight. Questions for the supervisory panel: • Starting from the results of this literature review, what do I have to take into account in a qualitative research on the decision-making process in prioritisation? • Which research design is best suited to investigate the nature of this decision-making process and to explore how professionals make sense of this challenge? • How do I address the relation between the empirical decision-making process and the ethical principles, presuppositions and frameworks behind it?
Although Finland, as well as other Nordic countries, are among the most equal countries in the world, there are important groups of people who suffer from inequalities and have problems in their health and well-being. On-going PROMEQ research about the outcomes of multi-professional case management in unemployment services on the well-being of the Finnish long-term unemployed in five cities is partly based on theory of social quality. The participants have been continuously unemployed for over 12 months. The interventions are evaluated by using an experimental design with the matched pair method. The measures of the effectiveness of the interventions are implemented using WHOQoL-BREF, UCLA loneliness scale, capability, trust and lifestyle questionnaires. This paper is based on the findings of the base-line data of the research (N=499). Our results support the findings of prior research: compared to the general population in Finland, the long-term unemployed have a noticeably lower well-being on all of its dimensions. In recent years, the discussion about Social Quality as a sociologically grounded theoretical measurement of the quality of a society, has been on expanding. (Beck et al. 1997; Abbott and Wallace 2010; Abbott et al. 2011). Our paper is aiming at the question, whether the problems in the well-being experienced by the unemployed can be used as a proxy for the Social Quality of Finnish society. This research is a part of Finnish Academy - funded project Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing (PROMEQ).
This research project is taking place in the field of early childhood interventions, namely children in 0-3 age group and their families in a district of Bolzano with a high percentage of families (Città di Bolzano, 2015; Colletti, 2017). The project (a two-year pilot project driven by the local government) aims to integrate the service delivery of healthcare, social care and educational organizations in order to offer services that are more suitable. Early childhood interventions are in Italy still a novel field of study that requires a multidisciplinary and a collaborative approach in order to deliver appropriate services for families with children in 0-3 age group (Ladurner, Tauber, & Hainz, 2016). The local welfare system is characterized by an increased diversification and specialization of services, which however lacks in cooperation and networking (Azienda Servizi Sociali di Bolzano, 2017; Città di Bolzano, 2015; Elsen, 2015). This research project aims to observe what settings and conditions of the local social services are most appropriate to respond to new needs and to the increasing diversity of the population (Geldof, 2017; Vertovec, 2007) and under what conditions diversity triggers social innovation. I will look at those criteria of social innovation that pay attention to inclusion processes. Moulaert defines social innovation as “innovation in social relations” (Moulaert, 2014, p. 2). The question is how to be inclusive toward diverse clients and needs bearing in mind the inherent dilemma of social work which attempts to normalize people but at the same time has the mission to empower excluded or emarginated individuals and groups (Lorenz, 2017b), balancing between the universal access to social services and individual rights (Martinelli, 2017). The problem of access in health and social services has been highlighted by several case studies (Barberis & Boccagni, 2014). On the other hand, there is evidence of increasing participation request of a greater inclusion of individuals (Elsen & Lorenz, 2014; Fargion, Frei, & Lorenz, 2015). The latter trend points out the increasing importance of the community and the civil society also for social work, suggesting a broader approach to governance based on democratic interaction and negotiation (Ambrosini, 2017; Kessl, 2005). It implies also a shift from individual casework towards cooperation and networking with the civil society and a systemic approach (Krummacher, Kulbach, Waltz, & Wohlfahrt, 2003). Selected methods: repeated qualitative semi-structured interviews; participation to meetings and site visits; discussions with the participants; documentary analysis of internet sources, scientific literature, relevant statistics about the organizations involved as well as the legal framework. The attempt will be to do research with and for people (Lorenz, 2017a) in order to foster and open up a reflexivity process between the researcher and the actors involved (Kirby, Greaves, & Reid, 2010) What I am intending to present at the TISSA Conference is the theoretical and methodological framework of this study.
Critical reflection in social work education: rhetorical & artistic perspectives. In my doctoral research, I study the notion of ‘critical reflection’ in relation to the linguistic and interpretive dimensions of social and behavioural sciences. More specifically, my aim is to explore how both a rhetorical and an artistic perspective might inform a pedagogy of ‘symbol-wisdom’ (Enoch, 2004) in social work education, psychology education and teacher education. Based on a systematic review of empirical literature on critical reflection in the aforementioned disciplines, I argue that critical reflection should entail both a self-critical/reflexive, an interpersonal and a socio-political dimension. Especially within social work literature, the importance of a normative framework to ground one’s ‘critical reflections’ is emphasized, which corresponds to the argument that social work is inherently normative rather than neutral and value free and includes a commitment to social justice, fighting poverty and inequality, human rights and emancipatory work as part of its professional identity (see, for example, Morley, 2000, 2008). In my research, I examine the potential of the rhetorical perspective as an analytical and pedagogical framework (Ratcliffe, 2005) for social work students to attend to the normative dimensions of their professional identity by developing a critical and reflexive awareness of the symbolic and linguistic construction of social problems and of notions such as ‘social justice’ and ‘emancipation’ itself (Gregory & Holloway, 2005). Furthermore, from the artistic perspective, the arts are examined as a research site, in which various constructions of social problems can be identified and studied, and as a form of research in itself (Borgdorff, 2011; Rutten et al., 2013) that inevitably raises questions about what is considered ‘legitimate knowledge’ in social work research, practice and education and about the professional identity of social work as a discipline. In this presentation, I will draw on research projects within the discipline of social work in which rhetorical and artistic perspectives were introduced as frameworks to critically reflect on disciplinary debates as well as on lessons learned from similar educational projects with higher education students in clinical psychology and teacher education. These studies illustrate the importance of the reflexive and the political dimension of critical reflection in social work (Fook, 2000). However, they also raise questions with regard to what it means to be ‘symbol-wise’ as a social worker; what is critical about being ‘symbol-wise’; how we can strive for social justice and emancipatory social work while critically questioning different constructions of ‘social justice’ and ‘emancipation’ and how different ‘knowledge sources’ can disrupt our ways of seeing (or ‘trained incapacities’ (Burke, 1966)) without resorting to an ‘anything goes’ relativism.
In our contribution we want to draw on some findings of the DieGem research project, to reflect on innovative forms of structural solidarity that are not bound to the nation-state. The DieGem project was a long term, multidisciplinary research-project funded by the government of Flanders meant to find and document bottom-up new practices of solidarity. Starting from the idea that the nation state is under pressure and no longer the best possible framework in all circumstances under the condition of diversity, practices of solidarity in everyday place-based activities in different settings were investigated. Old forms of solidarity were often based on some element of sharing: feeling oneself a member of the same or shared struggle (cf. Marx); the growing awareness of interdependence of rich and poor (as stressed by Weber); solidarity because of simply sharing values and norms (often based on religion) or solidarity that grows out of meeting each other/living together. These warm sources of solidarity have been gradually built into the postwar welfare state, using the nation-state and ‘the nation’s shared history’ as key structures to provide this structural ‘cold’ solidarity. This postwar welfare state is now under pressure, because of changing power relations, global and translocal evolutions, and changing views on welfare and social justice. Often these changes are all reduced to the growing diversity as being the cause for a lack of solidarity. diversity means fewer shared grounds and thus seems breaking down the sources for both warm and cold solidarity. In the DieGem research we explicitly start from the idea that diversity is not a threat for solidarity, but a challenge to see or create innovative forms. We have researched 32 different cases for these innovative forms of solidarity. We noticed however that the cases often realized forms of warm solidarity, but hadn’t been able (yet) to transform this to a more structural level . To illustrate this finding, we draw on one case-study : the situated learning community (LC) The Busy Bees, an adult education practice in Brussels. In this case-study we address the right to education. When researching solidarity in diversity in this LC we consider precisely the unique professional framework of ‘creating conditions’ as a form of solidarity. We distinguish two strategies in the professional interventions enhancing this structural solidarity: the support of (learning) opportunities of individual participants and the structural commitment in relation to an excluded and vulnerable group. In this contribution we thus want to question and discuss how these 21st century forms of warm solidarity can be built into the structures of society and how we can build bridges in these 21st century practices of solidarity between warm and cold forms of solidarity and how they can meet the main criticisms of both warm and cold forms of solidarity. Lastly we want to explore how these innovative forms of solidarity can inspire a 21st century rights based approach of social work that meets the challenges of social justice, and diversities in what might be new institutional forms of solidarity.
GOALS: The research seeks the answers to two essential questions: "Do the negative traits ascribed to the Roma by the majority (thefts, laziness, misuse of the social system, etc.) result from their culture (ethnic group), or does the reason consist in social exclusion (poverty)? Is it important for social workers to learn to know traditional Roma culture?" METHODS: When searching the answer to the first question in the context of culture versus social exclusion, we used the method of Grouded Theory by Strauss and Corbin (1990). The research of traditional Roma culture was implemented in form of ethnographic research inspired by the thick description method by a representative of so called new ethnography, Clifford Geertz. The first part of the research took place in 2006–2012 in segregated Roma settlements of the Poprad District (Slovakia). We made interviews with more than 100 respondents and meetings of two focus groups took place. The second research, implemented in 2013–2017, included more than 50 inhabitants of settlements of the region at the foothills of the Tatra Mountains. RESULTS: The socially pathological phenomena present in the environment of marginalized Roma communities constitute a typical characteristic of reproduced social exclusion. At present, the traditional Roma culture survives only in form of minor fossils: primarily language and some socio-cultural regulations (e.g. housing, eating, etc.), the knowledge of which is indispensable for the work of field social workers. IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK: The Roma are the only ethnic minority considered a target group of social work. We consider the ethnicizing approach in social work an obsolete and mistaken concept that deepens the stereotypes and prejudices. Therefore we suggest focusing on the issues of resolving the poverty and social exclusion, not the so called "Roma issue", which has a pejorative undertone. Keywords ethnic approach, critical social work, Roma, social exclusion, Slovakia
As a consequence of cuts in public funding and increasing competition in many social sectors, their future sustainability is a challenging issue in recent years. How is it possible, nowadays, an effective development of social initiatives that balance social instances with economic growth? Digital technology has been deemed to affect the global economy since is estimated to be one of the most important levers that can raise good and service production. Some researchers and activists also argue that the digital technology can be used to create new models of civic engagement and new forms of democracy. This article explores how to exploit crowd-based paradigms in order to underpin social innovative projects/initiatives. ICT-based initiatives will be presented and discussed, including the change makers’ communities Edgeryders (https://edgeryders.eu/). Technology offers today many opportunities to engage citizens in building solutions that improve collective livability. However, much of a better result depends on social values and expectations that motivate the use of technology and they can differ among subjects. In fact, social values as well as expectations are part of the culture societies and provide the general guidelines for the social conduct of a community.