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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Social care - overseas

The development of an ethnically sensitive approach in social work in Slovenia

S. Urh

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 11, 2008, p. 117-129

Social work education in Slovenia is currently undergoing reform. Influenced by the Bologna Declaration, curricula and the length of education are changing. This has given the Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana, an opportunity to address racism and anti-racist practice in social work education, based on the critical analysis of processes that maintain the status quo in social work with members of minority ethnic groups such as the Roma. The approach also involves user perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the views and experiences of ethnic group members.

Empowerment and globalisation in a Nordic social work education context

I.-M. Johansson and others

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 260-268

Child welfare and child protection services in the Nordic region are shifting from a focus on problems, pathology and deficits to a focus on strengths, capacity building and empowerment. This article describes joint Nordic Masters level courses that have been designed to promote a more inclusive, democratic and empowering way of working with children and their families and to equip students with a global understanding of social problems. To this end the courses were taught be academics from Australia and South Africa as well as the Nordic countries.

Factors affecting the development of social work and its professionalisation process: the case of Greece

S. Koukouli, E. Papadaki and A. Philalithis

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 216-224

This study presents an analysis of the factors which influenced the development and shape of social work in Greece and explores its present level of professionalisation. Four main factors were identified: 1) the familialist-statist social care model in which social work operates in Greece; 2) reluctant state support due to a complex set of specific political, social and economic conditions; 3) the emergence of new needs in recent years due to population ageing, family changes and increased immigration; and 4) the European Union's financial support and regulatory role in various social policy areas.

Freedom as self-transgression: transformations in the 'governmentality' of social work

K. Villadsen

European Journal of Social Work, vol.11, 2008, p. 93-104

The philanthropic principles which were originally developed in the late nineteenth century are now being rediscovered and applied to current social work, breaking with traditional welfarist forms of knowledge and practice. This neo-philanthropic tendency can be summed up in four catch phrases which have been in use since the 1980s:

  • Assistance must take the form of self-help
  • Poverty is not a material but a moral problem
  • Every human has an immanent, positive core
  • Help should be reserved for those who can be helped

This development suggests that a profound transformation of the welfare state and its concept of citizenship may be taking place.

Globalization and international social work: postmodern change and challenge

M. Payne and G. A. Askeland

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008

Globalization challenges social work with constant social change, making a social worker's job and the task of social work education more complex and uncertain. Post-modern thinking suggests that social workers must learn to cope with complexity in ways that are in tension with the increasingly managerialist organization of the social services. The book explores and questions the concepts 'postmodern', 'international' and 'global' in the light of growing interest in international social work in the early 21st century. Emphasizing the importance of critical reflection, it argues that educational colonization can be challenged and effective anti-discriminatory and pro-equality practice and education promoted. Each chapter provides direct examples of how students and academics can apply these ideas in practice and in their learning, and how they can respond to and influence the challenges and changes that are taking place. The authors also examine educational and practice issues arising from attempts to incorporate international understanding into national practice and education systems.

International social work: professional action in an interdependent world. 2nd ed.

L. Healy

Oxford: OUP, 2008

The original edition of this book set the stage for recent years' exponential increase of interest in international issues for social workers. This second edition is a thorough revision of that definitive text, and it expands on the sections most valuable to teachers, adds evocative photos from the author's own collection, and provides a wealth of new information to bring the book up-to-the-minute. A comprehensive treatment of international social work, the book emphasizes global interdependence and professional action, themes that provide the context for an engaging examination of social work issues in a global perspective. The book's four sections introduce major concepts and issues in international social work, review the global history of the social work profession as a whole, discuss global ethics, practice and policy, and values, and look ahead to the bright future of international exchange and development.

Looking back while moving forward: historical perspectives on social work

C. Skehill (editor)

British Journal of Social Work, vol.38, 2008, p. 619-804

This special issue aims to:

  • Disseminate high-quality research findings relating to histories of social work across different jurisdictions
  • Highlight the value of history as a mechanism for developing critical understandings of the present
  • Celebrate the persistence of social work as a profession over time
  • Provide insight into different methodologies for studying the history of social work
  • Provide readers with an appreciation of the complexity of social work as a profession within its broader social, cultural, political and institutional context

Social work and social justice: what are we fighting for?

J. Solas

Australian Social Work, vol. 61, 2008, p. 124-136

Social justice ranks as the second of five values that underpin the Code of Ethics of the Australian Association of Social Workers. However, although social work's commitment to promoting social justice is laudable, it is unclear exactly what kind of social justice the profession espouses. The author argues in favour of rewriting the Code of Ethics to promote a radically egalitarian approach, while maintaining diversity and defending human rights to cultural, economic, political and social equality.

Social work education in mainland China: development and issues

A. Koon-chui Law and Jiang Xia Gu

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 2, 2008, p. 1-12

This paper summarises current developments in social work education in China and highlights the challenges confronting it as it expands rapidly. These challenges include gaps in curriculum design, uncertain career prospects for students, confusion around the accreditation system, shortages of resources for teaching and fieldwork supervision, and potential value conflicts among social workers. However, the future is bright, thanks to recognition by the Chinese government of the value of social work in tackling some of the problems arising from rapid social and economic change.

The transformation of human services

H. Reinders

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, vol. 52, 2008, p. 564-572

Western society is witnessing a transformation of professional practices in human services due to the introduction of neoliberal managerialism. This paper offers a review of the main features of neoliberal managerialism identified in the research literature. Managerialism rejects traditional ideas about professional independence and autonomy and seeks to bring the specialists under management control, leading to tension and conflict. On the other hand some professionals have responded by seeking to abide by the new rules and accept the changes in their work imposed by managerialism.

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