Vol. 17 No. 1 (2019): Alienation Theory and Research in Education and Social Work

NEW: SW&S Special Issue on “Alienation Theory and Research in Education and Social Work” (Vol. 17, Issue 1, 2019)

“Social Work & Society is dedicated to a critical analysis of the relationship between social work, social policy, the state and economic forces.” This message, written in our Mission Statement, is fundamental for Social Work & Society (SW&S). It is pointing on the main perspective of our Journal: SW&S wants to offer a forum for critical views on the existing social order and on the current cultural hegemonies. Also, SW&S wants to develop a theoretical understanding of the current developments. At the same time, a self-critical reflection does show that this ‘theoretical understanding’ has often been a more implicit or indirect issue in much SW&S papers.

Our authors have been raised epistemological and methodological questions as well as questions concerning an adequate rationale for social work and social policy from their different points of view. However, theoretical aspects in terms of social theory have often not been the prior focus of the SW&S Special Issues, because we as the editors and as the Co-Ordinating Office of SW&S have not put them in the focus of the journal enough.

This is mirroring a dynamic in social, educational, and cultural sciences, where empirical research has become more and more the dominant mode of analysis and the theoretical understanding as an issue in itself has fallen slightly behind – especially in regard to the theoretical understanding of social work and social policy in terms of social theory.

Empirical insights are of fundamental relevance for social work research and practice, but at the same time the current developments, especially on the macro level have to be taken into account also from a theoretical point of view. This is especially true in times of economic crisis and fundamental transformations of the state, as we experience them in the last decades.

Therefore, we are not only very happy to present the current SW&S Special Issue on “Alienation Theory and Research in Education and Social Work”, edited by Dirk Michel-Schertges and Henrik Skovlund from Aarhus University, Copenhagen (DK). But we also hope that this SW&S Special Issue will support the critical analysis of the relationship between social work, social policy, the state and economic forces in a more theoretical way in future – beside and in correspondence to the empirical analysis.

The authors of the current SW&S Special Issue reflect the figure of “alienation” as a main analytical instrument in the context of discussions on social work and social policy in the following seven papers: Introduction to Alienation Theory and Research in Education and Social Work (Dirk Michel-Schertges & Henrik Skovlund); Alienation – a long-overlooked concept of relevance to social work? (Henrik Skovlund); Experience analysis and forms of alienation (Søren Nagbøl); Subject to Change - Social Work, Moral Regulation and recent debates on Alienation (Jan Düker); Education and Alienation – Towards a Neo-liberal Arbitrariness (Dirk Michel-Schertges); Alienation, neoliberalism and education (Niels Rosendal Jensen); Countering Spatial Alienation: Social Work in a Stigmatised Neighbourhood in Copenhagen, Denmark (Christian Sandbjerg Hansen); and Young ethnic minority men and their movement into gang related street communities – a question of preventing feelings of social alienation (Kirsten Elisa Petersen).

SW&S Forum

In our new issue of SW&S we are really happy to present four further papers on highly relevant topics in the international arena of Social Work and Social Policy: Forcible separation and assimilation as trauma: The historical and socio-political experiences of Australian Aboriginal people (Karen Menzies); Social Development, the promotion of Well-Being, and the Perceived Role of Social Work in Peru (Miriam Gerlach); Situation Analysis of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Existing Alternative Care Systems in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Mariana J. Makuu); and Researching social space in social work institutions. A case study on a women’s shelter (Marc Diebäcker, Anna Fischlmayr, Aurelia Sagmeister).

Have a look and have a read in the new issue of Social Work & Society. We are sure that the papers can be a very helpful and inspiring source of your own reflections on social work and social policy.

Published: 2019-10-02