1st Edition

The Body Politics of Glocal Social Work Essays on the Post-Anthropocentric Condition

By Mona Livholts Copyright 2023
    168 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book shapes a situated body politics to re-think, re-write, and de-colonise social work as a post-anthropocentric discipline headed towards glocalisation, where human and non-human embodiments and agencies are entangled in glocal environmental worlds.

    It critically and creatively examines how social work can be theorised, practised, and written in renewed ways through dialogical and transdisciplinary practices. This book is composed of eight essayistic spaces, envisioning social work through embodied, glocal, and earthly entanglements. By drawing on research-based knowledge, autobiographical notes, stories, poetry, photographs, and an art exhibition in social work education, these essays provide readers with analysis and strategies that are useful for research, education, and practice as well as life-long learning.

    The book constitutes key literature for researchers, educators, practitioners, and activists in social work, sociology, architecture, art and creative writing, feminist and postcolonial studies, human geography, and post-anthropocentric philosophy. It offers the readers sustainable ways to re-think and re-write social work towards a glocal- and post-anthropocentric more-than-human worldview.


    A Book of Eight Essayistic Spaces: Glocal Embodiment in the Post-Anthropocene

    An Invitation to Diffractive and Slow Reading

    1. Re-Wor(l)dling Social Work: This Essay is offered as an Invitation to Post-Anthropocentric Thinking, Practice, and Writing

    2. Mapping the Glocal: This Essay is Offered as a Triptych Paradigm

    3. Exhibiting the Glocal: This Essay is Offered as an Eco-Social Sculpture

    4. Exhausting the Glocal: This Essay is Offered as a Drifting Mo(ve)ment

    5. Decolonising the Glocal: This essay is Offered as a Diffractive Practice

    6. Spatialising the Glocal: This essay is Offered as a Counter-Monument

    7. Writing the Glocal: This Essay is Offered as a Space for Post-Anthropocentric Writers

    8. Glocality and Body Politics: This Essay is Offered as a Vision and Practice for Slow Science in Social Work


    Mona B. Livholts is Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland; Secretary and Executive Board Member in The European Association of Social Work, EASSW; Founder of the Network for Reflexive Academic Writing Methodologies, RAW (2008-2017). Livholts works with glocal-, post-anthropocentric, feminist- and postcolonial power analysis for social and environmental justice in the intersection of social work, creative writing, and art-based research. She has invented new forms for creative life writing, such as the thinkingwriting subject, post/academic writing, and the untimely academic novella by uses of literary fiction, memory work, diaries, letters, poetry, and photography. Research themes include media narratives on rape, sexual harassment, gender, space and memory, monuments and narrative inequality, environmental exhaustion, and the body politics of social work. Livholts has published monographs, and co-edited and edited volumes in Swedish and English, including Social Work in a Glocalised World (with Bryant 2017), Situated Writing as Theory and Method. The Untimely Academic Novella (2019), and The Body Politics of Glocal Social Work. Essays in the Post-Anthropocentric Condition (2022).

    "This book responds to a growing need for post-anthropocentric methodologies to address urgent change. It is an inspiration to a broad range of disciplines, far beyond the field of social work, and especially valuable for spatial practitioners and researchers in art, architecture, and urban planning, among others. In her essays, Mona Livholts shows ways of writing and how they impact creative and critical thinking. She inspires novel approaches to transform social and spatial practices from the position of embodiment and with respect to our entanglements within more-than-human worlds. This book is a treasure for the education of social and spatial practitioner and researchers and should be included on their reading lists."

    Meike Schalk, Associate Professor in Urban Design and Urban Theory and Docent in Architecture, KTH School of Architecture, Sweden

    "In this engaging and timely book, Mona Livholts tackles the question, what might critical re-thinking and re-writing social work knowledge be in the post-anthropocentric era. The non-conventional essayistic spaces of the book foster creative and dialogical encounters with the writing self, with human and non-human life,  and environmentalities. These spaces challenge the separated notions of nature and culture, and human and non-human actors.

    Livholts shows how post-anthropocentric knowledge production is not only a question of content but one of form. She inspires us to explore life writing genres, such as diaries, letters, poetry, and photography, all of which can be utilized as starting points to seek renewed knowledge into creative theorization, practice, and writing. By foregrounding embodiment, exhaustion, and above all, glocality - a fusion of local and global – Livholts’ situated writing bridges the personal with the planetary and paves the way for much needed post-anthropocentric worldviews in academic work and beyond. The book will be highly useful for active scholars across disciplines as well as interested readers more generally." 

    Riikka Hohti, Postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Education and Docent in Childhood Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland

    "This book takes the reader on a rich voyage afloat eight essayistic pieces which carry Mona Livholt’s propositions for re-thinking and re-conceptualising social work towards a glocal and post-anthropocentric worldview. Encouraging readers to engage in Slow and diffractive reading, the book argues the imperative of a glocal lens, a complex fusion of global and local beyond the binary itself that acknowledges human-nature entanglements. In the essays, beautifully stitched together, we are guided by a generous sharing of the author’s subjective experiences and observations, diffracted through complex decolonial, indigenous, new materialist and posthumanist scholarship, to walk along with the author on a journey of radical reframing and reimagining of social work. Most inspiring is the way in which the book models its arguments through its creative, dialogical, experimental and diffractive narrative form. Through each essay the book disrupts normative logics of scholarship, fashioning a scholarship beyond the authoritative, cartesian, disembodied and non-relational academic subject. While primarily speaking with and through social work, the book offers much for critical decolonial, feminist and queer scholars and others across disciplinary boundaries and geopolitical spaces, who are ‘staying with the trouble’ as Donna Haraway has urged, and are committed to response-able and care-ful engagements in current times of planetary challenge."

    Tamara Shefer, Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

    "Timely, thought proving, elegant, and purposefully transgressive in the attempt to offer and foster diverse ways to reconceptualise social work in the Anthropocene – and forward. Building on sustained work on glocality and creative narrative writing genres, Mona Livholts’ Body Politics of Glocal Social Work: Essays on the Post-Anthropocentric Condition paves the way for paradigmatic shifts towards post-disciplinary knowledge in social work and beyond. The collection stands out as coherent and carefully thought contribution for the necessary(il)y polyphonic reconceptualising of social work. Along with its theoretically intertwined chapters aka ’open-ended essayistic spaces’, readers are invited to engage with critical thinking, fusions, and creative encounters of various sorts, alert to their own bodily, relational, and environmental locations and starting points in so doing. An eloquent and philosophical treat and companion to stop and think about emergent conceptualizations in social work, as well as generally."

    Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö, Senior lecturer, Docent. Department of philosophy and social sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

    "Social work as a discipline is in much need of being reconfigured in light of the Anthropocene which is affecting the earth and all that inhabits it in earthly coexistence. Livholts’ The Body Politics of Glocal Social Work provides a refreshing initiative to reconfigure and decolonise social work as a discipline. Each of the eight essays in the book are lively disruptions for different ways of undoing hegemonic social work discourses and can be diffractively read through each other in any order. The essays make use of situated multimodal material-discursive practices, thinking-with earthly substances, to offer novel ways of doing and conceptualising social work theory/praxis."

    Vivienne Bozalek, Emerita Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa