1st Edition

Private Troubles or Public Issues? Challenges for Social Work Research

Edited By Walter Lorenz, Ian Shaw Copyright 2017
    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book bears testimony to the value of a progressive form of academisation of social work education in most European countries, including former communist countries which had to re-establish social work education. It also manifests the confidence of contributors in belonging to a serious academic discipline, and the fruitfulness of bringing research ‘home’ from neighbouring disciplines such as sociology, psychology, social policy, or pedagogy into the mainstream of social work.

    The contributions to this book converge on a small number of core issues for contemporary social work. These are methodologically the conceptualisation of different and interacting dimensions of diversity, and practically the defence of professionalism and discretion against encroachment by neo-liberal ideologies and cost-cutting regulations. In so doing, this underscores that theory matters in social work. Authentic social work research can demonstrate that social work practice has no reason to shy away from basing itself on evidence and being professionally accountable as long as its notion of evidence recognises and does justice to the complexity of social problems and acknowledges the value of inter-subjectivity in producing useable and ethically grounded evidence. This book was originally published as a special issue of the European Journal of Social Work.

    Introduction: Private troubles or public issues? Challenges for social work research Ian Shaw and Walter Lorenz

    1. Reconsidering the ‘idea’ of evidence in evidence-based policy and practice Edward J. Mullen

    2. Science and social work: a sketch Ian Shaw

    3. Reaching the person—social work research as professional responsibility Walter Lorenz

    4. Standing up to complexity: researching moral panics in social work Viviene E. Cree, Gary Clapton and Mark Smith

    5. Social work education in a time of national crisis in Greece: educating the workforce to combat inequalities Sofia Dedotsi, Alys Young and Karen Broadhurst

    6. Attitudes toward poverty among exit students of undergraduate social work programs in eight Latin American countries Gisela Negrón-Velázquez

    7. The circle of social reform: the relationship social work—social policy in Addams and Richmond Francisco J. N. Branco

    8. The street-level delivery of activation policies: constraints and possibilities for a practice of citizenship Urban Nothdurfter

    9. Active social policies revisited by social workers Jean-Pierre Tabin and Anne Perriard

    10. Investigating the quality of social work. An experience of self-assessment with Italian social workers Teresa Bertotti

    11. Towards an interactional approach to reflective practice in social work Steve Kirkwood, Bethany Jennings, Eric Laurier, Viviene Cree and Bill Whyte

    12. Critical factors of intensive family work connected with positive outcomes for child welfare clients Pirjo Pölkki, Riitta Vornanen and Riina Colliander

    13. Migrant voices addressing social work: listening to Italian women in Germany Anna Aluffi Pentini

    14. Culturally sensitive social work: promoting cultural competence Paula Sousa and José Luís Almeida

    15. Education, ethnicity and gender. Educational biographies of ‘Roma and Sinti’ women in Germany Julia Reimer

    16. Social assistance trajectories in Switzerland: do they follow discernible patterns? Elisabeth Gutjahr and Jean-Luc Heeb

    17. Standardisation—the end of professional discretion? Lina Ponnert and Kerstin Svensson


    Walter Lorenz is Professor of Social Work at the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, Italy, and was previously Jean Monet Professor at University College, Cork, Republic of Ireland. His research focuses on the interface between social policy and social work practice in different European contexts.

    Ian Shaw is Professor Emeritus at the University of York, UK. He was the inaugural chair of the European Social Work Research Association, and his most recent book is Social Work Science.