Social Work & Society The e-journal Social Work and Society is dedicated to critical analysis of the relationship between social work, social policy, the state and economic forces. en-US (Marie Fruehauf) (Mario Hildebrandt) Wed, 05 Jan 2022 21:11:21 +0000 OJS 60 Social Policy in Social Work Education and Practice - Innovative Approaches <p class="swsAbstract"><span lang="EN-GB">This Special Issue is interested in the educational context of social policy and its implications for social work professionals and community practice. The papers presented here were selected based on an open call for contributions. They examine the role of social policy within the context of social work education and its relationship to actual experiences of professional practice. Additionally, they explore the debates around social workers as ‘policy actors’, with a focus on how social work educators train or educate social work students to influence social policy. The Issue offers an international perspective with contributions from the UK, Germany, Estonia, Italy, USA, and Norway.</span></p> Sarah P. Lonbay, Marija Stambolieva Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Insider-outsider view of social work curricula in Estonia - should one competence of future social workers be policy literacy? <p class="swsAbstract"><span lang="EN-GB">This article focuses on the development of social policy and social work curriculum from the perspective of the programme leaders. Analysing the social work curriculum development between 1991<a name="_Hlk84585524"></a>–2020, as insiders and outsiders, we explore the process of positioning social policy within the social work curricula. Social work and social policy have been complementing each other in the field and in the training of social workers. Constructivist grounded theory approach was insightful in showing what was hindering the decisions of social work programme leaders. It also showed how the long-term impact of the Bologna process, the growing role of interdisciplinarity, competition in higher education and the programme managers personal opinions, together with the definition of social policy and social work, influence the design of the social work curricula. The article emphasises the role of programme leaders and the reforms of higher education in the curriculum development process. Therefore, how to bridge the complexity in curriculum development will remain a challenge for social work academics and require more future analysis and research.</span></p> Reeli Sirotkina, Kersti Kriisk Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Social Work and policy practice: group reflection and policy inquiry <p>Social policy in social work can be taught as rules articulated in documents. &nbsp;But the policy work in professional practice is more complex – it involves not only knowing what policy says but also how it works and how to make it work. Social work tends to be located within street-level organisations where policy and its implementation are iterative and interlinked. It's a context where policy is found not only in documents but also in the level of finance, organisational structures, and the deployment of human resources.</p> <p>Policy is a site for critical practice - but contemporary approaches to critical reflection give insufficient attention to this.&nbsp; Drawing on Dewey's ideas of democratic education and reflection as a group inquiry, I outline a structured pedagogic approach to group policy reflection that foregrounds this policy practice and offers a critical approach that supports analysis and action. Policy reflection enables group participants to: describe policy situations and dissect key policy messages; analyse policy messages, in the light of the demands of professional practice; and finally, work out how to respond, and how to act in line with critical professional commitments.</p> Tony Evans Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 The need to improve social work students’ skills as future social policy actors: experiences and prospects in undergraduate training <p>The article examines the field-based tools used to train future social workers and the way they help students mature through experiences of community contact as a key element in social policy formulation. Using a five-year study conducted at Sapienza University of Rome, it analyzes how students view these hands-on methodologies as enabling them to gain a greater understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and a greater sense of personal values and civic participation. The article also explores the relationship between training tools and students’ professional growth by taking experience as a key element in constructing social policies and focusing on the outcomes that can be achieved through field-based activities. In addition to project-based learning, professional internships, and volunteer work, the article considers how incorporating service learning into degree courses could enhance and strengthen social worker training in social policy-making by potentially compensating for the limitations of existing learning methods.</p> Lluis Francesc Peris Cancio Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Pedagogy of the protest: teaching social workers about collective action and the social policy context <p>Social workers are frequent participants in social movements that affect social policy. However, social workers may be inadequately prepared for challenging aspects of social movements such as collective protest. This conceptual study critically examines the political dimension of social welfare through a comparative analysis of Norway and the United States. We discuss the dilemmas in political engagement that social workers encounter, followed by suggestions for social workers' response to collective action. Using the example of Black Lives Matter, we explore social work education and framing to prepare social workers for collective protests and offer a framework that provides direction for social work practice.</p> Mariam Zaidi, Håvard Aaslund Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Professionalization in low-threshold drug aid – between managerialism and practitioner knowledge <p>This article deals with the socio-political effects of a development toward more "managerialism" that has taken place over several decades up to the present day. Using the practical example of low-threshold drug help, it asks to what extent this service, which is based on empathy, contact and resonance, is compatible with the movement toward a business model that is profitable for users, providers and funding bodies. The method is based on ideal-typical case descriptions, personal experience and a theoretical analysis of relevant literature on the topics of "management" and "low-threshold addiction support". The article refers primarily to developments in the German context, but can - with certain qualifications - also be used to describe developments in comparable countries.</p> Joachim Thönnessen, Christiane Westerveld Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Immigrants’ experiences of the importance and value of work in Norway: Implications for social work <p class="swsAbstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In Norway, integration of immigrants through gainful employment is a prevailing idea in integrational measures. There is, however, a lack of knowledge on immigrants’ lived experiences on the issue of work. This study examines how immigrants experience the importance of work, and how they perceive the value of work. Data were collected by nine qualitative semi-structured interviews with ten immigrants and underwent an interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings provide the field of social work with important knowledge pertinent for professional practice. The participants considered work to be important and valuable. To the participants working represented self-sufficiency as well as financial independence. They linked work with a positive identity in society as they believed they were perceived positively by native Norwegians when they had regular work. Participants who obtained education prior to arriving in Norway had a wider variety of options when searching for work compared to those who lacked formal credentials.</span></p> Reidun Ims Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Hope, Mattering, and Pathways Towards Economic Agency among Financially Marginalized Adults <p>Growing inequality and wealth depletion characterize the past three decades of life in the United States. In response, social work scholars developed financial capability and asset building interventions that account for structural market inequality. Yet, important constructs of hope (a sense of agency in the face of uncertainty) and mattering (awareness, importance, and reliance) may be missing from financial interventions. We employ a human capability approach for testing these assertions among 140 low-income adults participating in an economic mobility intervention. Bivariate simple regressions and multivariate sequential regressions assess the relationships between economic agency, mattering, religiosity and spirituality, and hope. Findings indicate that only reliance (the degree to which others voluntarily trust us) is associated with economic agency, suggesting that in a market where pathways out of poverty continue shrinking, meaningful human connection and relational vulnerability can return a measure of agency, humanity, and self-determination despite extreme market duress.</p> Amy Castro, Chenyi Ma, Claudette Grinnell Davis, Meagan Cusack Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Responding to New Social Risks. The Southernization of Social Welfare in Poland? <p>European welfare states are gradually reorienting toward the activation and social investment paradigm, trying to address changing patterns of social issues and risks. The article asks to what extend welfare policy is modernizing in a sense of reorientation toward new social risks and social investment, and what affects the reorientation processes. It also addresses the question of welfare regimes’ typology and hybridization of Central and Eastern European social support system taking Poland as a case, arguing that CEE countries share the elements of the so-called Southern model of the welfare state. The text covers regularities both on the macro level and on the street-level, trying also to answer the question about relations of general policy changes and policy implementation using social assistance as an example. The analysis uses OECD data on social protection as well as qualitative data from 29 in-depth interviews with social workers in six locations in Poland.</p> Paweł Poławski Copyright (c) 2022 Wed, 05 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000