Vol. 20 No. 1 (2022): (De)Institutionalisation in the Fields of Social Services and Social Work

If we look at the historical processes of ‘institutionalisation’ in the fields of social work, education, and care, we notice that it is not only a constitutive moment, but repeatedly confronted with fundamental objections and attempts at an alternative organisation and practice. Therefore, not only institutionalisation, but the tension between institutionalisation, deinstitutionalisation and reinstitutionalisation, proves to be fundamental. At the same time institutionalisation has to be seen as a historical process and struggle and not as a given frame for social work practices – as well as for caring or for educational practices. Not at least institutionalisation cannot be reduced to a given bureaucratic or economical structure, but as the ongoing dispute and struggle over legitimated and influential agreements how to act and how to organise professional work. In social work research and theory as well as in social policy research and welfare state theory institutionalisation is often defined as the existing (welfare) state and especially in social work theory ‘institutions’ are considered more often as an obstacle than as an opportunity. Looking on the historical and powerful processes of institutionalisation itself – in everyday life practices as well as on the practices of service organisations, or in the legislative process – can open the view on the ambivalences and dialectics of (de)institutionalisation in social work, care, and education.

We are therefore very grateful that the German research initiative “(De)Institutionalisierung des Pädagogischen” from the Universities of Duisburg-Essen and Wuppertal has edited the current Special Issue of Social Work and Society on “(De)Institutionalisation in the Fields of Social Services and Social Work”. The SWS&.Special Issue consists of four articles: Ingo Bode (GER) on The (de-)institutionalisation of empowerment. The complex remake of child and family welfare arrangements in Western Europe; Griet Roets, Matthias Remmery, Dries Cautreels, Simon Allemeersch, Toon Benoot, and Rudi Roose (BEL) on A Critical Exploration of Institutional Logics of De-Institutionalisation in the Field of Disability Policy and Practice: Towards a Socio-Spatial Professional Orientation; Christian Reutlinger (CH) on The Relational Constitution of Institutional Spaces. Balancing Act between Openness and Pedagogical Space Shaping in Open Child and Youth Work; and Sascha Neumann (GER) on The institutionalisation of childhood and the institutionalisation of education. Reconsidering a not so simple relationship.

In addition to our SW&S.Special Issue, we present our readers in the current issue a diverse and impressive SW&S.Forum. Iria Noa de la Fuente-Roldán & Esteban Sánchez-Moreno (both ES) focus The Great Recession and Social Exclusion: Homeless People in the City of Madrid in their opening paper; Christoph Gille & Ute Klammer (both GER) discuss the possibility of Researching Welfare Regimes from Below in a comparative way regarding Youth Unemployment in Spain and Germany; the Stigmatisation of Youth in Residential Care as Epistemic Violence is reflected by Sara Blumenthal (A) in her article; Anna Slozanskas, Svitlana Stelmakhs & Iryna Krynytskas (all UA) topic are the Vulnerable Families in Ukraine as the Main Social Service Users in the pre-pandemic and the pandemic period; Abdulaziz Albrithen & Nadir A. Yalli (both UAE) grapple with the question of The Relationship between Organisational Factors and Job Frustration among Saudi Social Workers; and finally Claudia Equit, Matthias Euteneuer & Uwe Uhlendorff (all GER) look how Single Mothers Figure out Their Future Family Life.

We wish you an enjoyable and informative reading.

From the editor's desk

Social Work & Society is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a jubilee conference in June 2023. So, save the date: “Social Work and Society: Pathways Towards a Global Public Sphere. Jubilee Conference” on the 1st and 2nd of June 2023 at the Wuppertal University (GER). The conference will be conducted in a hybrid format.

Published: 2022-12-19