Vol. 17 No. 2 (2019): Moving to Nowhere Land? (Un)Certainties in transitions to work for the young generation

NEW: SW&S Special Issue on “Moving to Nowhere Land? (Un)Certainties in transitions to work for the young generation” (Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2019)

Work is constituting the human nature. Already before Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have elaborated their theory of the capitalist mode of production, the human nature has been identified as the nature of a working man, being able to conceptualise his work – in difference to the working animal. The animals are doing, what they have to do, without reflection on their work. But work as labour has become the fundamental source for exploitation and alienation in the formation of societies as capitalist societies, following Marx. In critical correspondence to Marx and Engels different thinkers in the 20th century have argued, that we have to be aware of the fact that work is not labour per se and that empirically work as human activity is always much more than labour. This if of course an insight, that Hannah Arendt, but also Andre Gorz and others have reflected in their work.

Understanding the fundamental character of work, we understand that work is not only a constitutive moment of human nature, but structuring social relations in a fundamental way. This is not only the case in capitalist societies, but also in social relations in general, if we look at all the (often gendered) work for human reproduction, not at least all care work.

Social work and social services have always been fields for public care work. As part of the policy and the practice of regulating social relations publicly, social work and social services are established in the welfare regimes since the 19th century. Therefore social work have been linked to work as labour from the beginning: Social workers and other care workers are part of the labour force in modern societies, and social work users are often addressed as people, which should be reintegrated in the so called labour market.

In the last years, the transition of people from school to work places, but also from being employed to being unemployed and the other way around have been focussed more precisely in the theory and research on social work and social services. Looking on these ways of becoming part of the labor force, of being out of that game for a shorter or longer while, especially in the case of young people, and connected issues, is what all papers of the new SW&S Special Issue on “Moving to Nowhere Land? (Un)Certainties in transitions to work for the young generation” are sharing.

We are very happy to present you this current SW&S Special, edited by Christian Schröder (GER). He himself has published two papers in the new SW&S Special Issue: one together with Ute Karl, Claudia Muche and Inga Truschkat (all GER) on The development and transformation of mainstream notions on ‘Career Guidance’. A discourse analysis on EU policy papers on (un)employment and a second one on Social Work and the Organizing of Transition to Work. Shahinaz Khalil (GER) is listening in her paper on the Voices to the Younger Generation and on that background she is claiming for Political Responsibility and Societal Development. In their paper Jan Skrobanek, Tuba Ardic and Irina Pavlova (all NOR) are discussing Youth Employment Mobility as an experience of (un)certainties in Europe. Transitions to work and adulthood are what Sebastiano Benasso (IT), Simone Castellani (POR), Anna Cossetta (IT), Christiane Dittrich (GER) and Andreas Walther (GER) are reflecting on in their paper Transmission Belts: On how young adults in Germany and Italy make meaning of mobility in transitions to work and adulthood. Also Andrea Plögers (GER) paper, Being nowhere – Meet me in the third space!, is on relevant current experiences of young people in the state of transition, but in this case, of young people, experiencing migration. Sabrina Göbel, Annabell Hansmeyer, Marei Lunz and Ulla Peters (all LUX) have contributed a paper to the current SW&S Special Issue on Occupational Aspirations of Care Leavers and their Pathways to Work. Last but not least, Ulrike Zöller (GER) is coming back to the challenges of transition to social work and social services by looking on Cross-border labor market participation in the Greater Region for young people.

SW&S Forum

Two more papers can complete the second issue of SW&S in 2019: Anne Mäkinen (FIN) on A Social Emergency Tasks in Emergency Response Centers (ERC´s) of Finland and Ruggero Capra on The challenges for social work under the pressures of neoliberal policies: a study of policy changes in the Italian probation.

Take a look in the new issue of Social Work & Society – the SW&S Special Issue on (Un)Certainties in transitions to work and the papers in the SW&S Forum. We are sure that all papers are highly relevant for further discussions and our own reflections in the fields of social work and social policy.

Thanks a lot to all our readers, reviewers, and not at least our SW&S authors in 2019. All the best for 2020 and the third decade in the 21st century.

The SW&S Co-Ordinating Office


Published: 2019-12-26