Social work and social policy responses to the refugee crisis and political conflict
The Social Work and Social Policies course is a part of the annual School of Social Work Theory and Practice in Dubrovnik, Croatia. As its title suggests, its main focus is on the relationship between social work and social policy, with a particular emphasis on comparative, regional and global dimensions. It has traditionally explored the relationship between different welfare state and social policy models and their implications for social work. The course brings together experienced and early career practitioners, activists, researchers and teachers to explore the contemporary challenges facing social work and social policy in different parts of the world.
Course directors (alphabetically):
JuhaHämäläinen, University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland
Paul Stubbs, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, Croatia
RiittaVornanen, University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland
Shula Ramon, University of Hertfordshire, England (guest director for SW in political conflict input)
2014 Organising directors:
University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland
The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, Croatia
This year our main focus is on social work and social policy responses to the refugee crisis (and underlying political conflicts). In the last year, Europe has faced the most significant influx of refugees since the Second World War. Refugees in search of safety and a better life have faced, instead, barbed wire, hazardous and often deadly sea crossings and a hostile reception from the authorities. Instead of offering a united front, European Union leaders have blamed each other, argued over quotas and often not fulfilled their obligations under international law. Political responses to the crisis have pandered to, and often fueled, rising racism and Islamophobia. At the same time, activists and ordinary people have become the first responders on the front line, offering food, clothing and support to meet the basic needs of refugees on their journey on the ‘Balkan route’, also with memory of own displacement in the wars some twenty years earlier. Actors in civil society have become the most articulate in arguing for states to treat refugees with dignity and respect and to develop sustainable solutions to the crisis, rather than continuing to obsess about so-called ‘national security’.We will also look also inthe source, the fate and the ‘protection’ of the UN in their own countries;the “solutions” of camps, their usefulness and justification; social attitudes to soldiers participating on behalf of their country; the impact of such conflicts on social workers; the ethical dilemmas in such contexts and the role of social work education.
We welcome presentations which discuss the challenges posed by the refugee crisis, including academic reflections, policy proposals and testimony of first-hand experience. We will reflect on these experiences and consider how to promote a more progressive, ethical and humane response in the future. In addition, we welcome presentations which focus on social policy and social work responses to migration in its wider sense, as well as the role of social work and social policy in promoting anti-racism and strengthening multi-cultural communities.