Vol. 20 No. 2 (2022): Voices of Subaltern

SW&S Special Issue on “Voices of Subaltern”

To be represented collectively means becoming part of the public sphere. This is probably the main message of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s thinking. Spivak asked at the end of the 1980s in her most influential essay: “Can the Subaltern Speak?”. This question is still sensitising us as readers as well as members of a specific society to understand the difference it makes, if we as European or North-American scholars or we as South-Asian of North-African activists are asking, who can speak and who is heard. At the same time, not only the post-colonial constellation, but also our position as members of the bourgeoisie or as members of ‘the subaltern’, determines our influence. It has been Antonio Gramsci, who invented this term of ‘the subaltern’ to describe those groups that act and argue from a non-hegemonic position. Gramsci has already pointed out that this not only necessitates a political confrontation, but also a ‘pedagogical mission’. Spivak has struggled with this simultaneity of listening and seeing people and make someone able to speak.

On the background of Spivak’s concept the current Special Issue of Social Work & Society (SW&S) brings together contributions that address the question of emancipation in the context of existing welfare state. SW&S is therefore very grateful that Michael May from the Hochschule RheinMain (GER) and Kirsten Elisa Petersen from Aarhus Universitet (DK) have edited the SW&S.Special Issue on “Voices of Subaltern”. The current special issue consists of the following articles: Niels Rosendal Jensens (DK) “Understanding subaltern classes and their struggle – past and present”; Dirk Michel-Schertges (DK) reflections on “Subalternity, Class-Consciousness and Resistance“; Kari Kragh Blume Dahls (DK) article on “Speaking for the ‘other’? Representation, positionality and subjectivity in ethnographic fieldwork in Danish and Kenyan education institutions”; Edita Ademis, Maia Portings and Christian Sandbjerg Hansens (DK) article on “The Point of View of Stigmatised Young Girls: Managing Class, “Race” and Place in Polarising Copenhagen“; Trine Elisabeth Møbius Sørensens (DK ) paper on “The muffled voices of the insane child – tracing the small voices of early child and adolescent psychiatry“; Michael May (GER) article on “Can people diagnosed as chronically mentally ill speak?”; Anne Morins (DK) paper on “Suppressed voices and lost opportunities in education and the psychiatric healthcare system – a structural analysis of dilemmas in inter-professional collaboration between sectors”; Tine Fristrup and Christopher Karanja Odgaard (DK) considerations on ”Recalibrating disability towards the term subaltern. The social work of neoliberal-academic-ableism in Danish higher education” and the reflections of Bjørg Kjær (DK) on “Voicing the silenced – One Million Voices and the Danish disability experience”.

Furthermore, the readers of Social Work & Society will find four very interesting papers in our Forum:

  • Patricia Patty Stoddard Dare, Linda M. Quinn, Shirley L. Porterfield, LeaAnne DeRigne, Miyuki Tedor & Cyleste Collins (US): Net worth of adults approaching retirement age: Personal health, presence of a chronically ill or disabled household member, and out of home caregiving
  • Farid Asey (CAN): If I had a magic wand: Speculative everyday anti-racism for addressing workplace racial discrimination in British Columbia’s public sector
  • Vikram Singh (IND): Education Inequality among the Muslims in India: Historical-Present Scenario
  • Helena Teles & Maria Irene Carvalho (PRT): Understanding Portuguese social workers’ values preferences

We wish all our readers a very insightful read.

Conference announcement: Social Work & Society is celebrating his 20th anniversary with a jubilee conference at the 1st and 2nd of June 2023. Please join – in person or digitally. You will find the program and the possibility for registration here.

Call for Special Issue: Please also note our call for special issue proposals.

Published: 2023-04-25