This course seeks to explore the development of social work knowledge and its use in different countries, examining a range of theoretical models and taking into account the significant influence of traditions, culture and politics on the development of diverse models in different countries and on social work as a whole. Previous topics have included: construction of social work identity, risk, assessment and management, measuring success and outcomes, knowledge base in working with diverse groups, ethical dilemmas in regard to management and policies, improving strategies and methods; methods and techniques in different countries, strategies in the climate of austerity.
The economic and social realities of Europe with the current austerity measures, are posing severe limitations on the social work role. The decline of the welfare state, rise of the business and consumer models, changes in demography due to migration and refugee populations, and diminishing economic resources are posing difficult challenges for the profession both in the voluntary and statutory sectors, confronting social workers with dilemmas on a daily basis. In addition to this, social work methods and interventions that could be viewed as owing their existence to the welfare state, are now in danger of appearing obsolete in the face of its’ decline. This places social workers in the position of seeking new approaches, as well as new resources and alliances of power.
For the professional and the student social worker, questions frequently arise and uncertainties are expressed concerning what is the role of social work in contemporary society? Are we still able to adhere to our values and ethics and how might these be compromised by the current agenda. How might we overcome the dilemmas and conflicts we face daily and maintain best practice? Is there still a place for social justice, and radical social work in Europe today?
As in previous years, we invite you to spend an interesting and stimulating week exploring and discussing issues relevant to the above topic in a relaxed and friendly environment. Through a range of presentations and workshops, it is hoped that participants will be able to gain knowledge and insight into the various social work perspectives from different European states, and explore and discuss a range of theories and methodologies to meet the current challenges.