Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 27th Jan 2022, 04:27:08am EET

Session Overview
Paper Presentation Session 22: Future and Sustainability of Social Work
Friday, 18/June/2021:
5:15pm - 6:15pm

Session Chair: Helena Belchior-Rocha
Location: Parallel Session 2

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Social Work and DeGrowth - a paradigm towards sustainability

Helena Belchior-Rocha1, Inês Amaro1, Jorge Ferreira1, Komalsingh Rambaree2, Pieter Lieven3

1ISCTE-Institituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; 2University of Gävle, Sweden; 3Karel de Grote Hogeschool Antwerp, Belgium

In the context of societal transformation, it becomes important to explore ways in which sustainability can explicitly and effectively address one of the root causes of social and environmental degradation, namely, the practice of economic growth. The Degrowth perspective opposes a model of society that focuses on infinite economic growth and the exploitation of the planet's resources at all costs. Striving for a self-determined life in dignity for all, includes deceleration, improvement of social well-being and equity. it is a critical and alternative proposal to a model that has exceeded its environmental and social limits and suits the ethical principles of Social Work, mainly Ecosocial work. We find that sustainable degrowth can be a complementary way and a process to regulate, in a healthy way, ecologically sustainable development. The global definition of SW explicitly mentions that our profession does not subscribe to conventional wisdom that economic growth is a prerequisite for social development. SW is aware that the relation between social wellbeing and economic welfare is not linear. But we don’t know what leaving economic growth means for the profession, therefore this communication aims to present an alternative approach based on the concept of eco-neighborhoods and the Ecosocial model for Social Work showing how social workers can effectively articulate Degrowth in their practices

Social Cohesion Processes: the Opportunities of Social Farming

Carla Moretti

Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy

Social farming provides a new model of agricultural development, with a strong ethical and social connotation, it also identifies new skills regarding social workers and new welfare scenarios. Social farming offers to the community many services: socio-health, social cohesion and job placement of vulnerable people, even in the most disadvantaged areas.

Experiences in different countries show a heterogeneous situation of social farming in Europe (Hassink, 2009); in Italy the law n. 141/2015 is an important national regulatory reference. The Italian situation is characterized by an approach that sees the private sector of farms and social cooperation more engaged.

This contribution will present the results of a research carried out in 2019 in the Marche Region, Italy. The research is aimed at investigating the characteristics of social farming experiences in territorial welfare systems and regional planning in this area.

The study provided for the conduction of questionnaires addressed to all the coordinators of the social territorial areas, furthermore some interviews were carried out addressed to the managers of the Agriculture Service and of the Social Policy Service of the Region.

The research detected the type of initiatives implemented, the subjects involved in the community and the beneficiaries, the strengths and critical points of social farming, as well as the areas of intervention of social workers.

The results show that social farming represents an opportunity to offer services for the territory, aimed at fostering resilience processes, the growth of relational good, the values of reciprocity, the development of sustainable contexts. The research also notes the need for specific training courses for students and social workers, in a multidisciplinary perspective, with the involvement of all those who work in this area. It is important to pay attention to the acquisition of new skills, aimed at creating living environments capable of promoting social cohesion and the well-being of people and the community.

Who Speaks for Whom about What to Save the Environment?

Yari Or, Chaitali Das

Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany

The presentation explores inclusivity as a challenge of the emerging field of European ecosocial work. In this presentation, we attempt a critical analysis of contemporary European social work engaged for environmental justice and ecosocial transition. In drawing on postcolonial theory and decolonizing methodologies, we ask who speaks for whom about what. We focus on the issue of inclusivity and voice in the building of a field, and explore developmental blueprints as well as possible alternatives for the formation of this important emerging field of social work research and practice.

Ecosocial social work has for some years challenged structural social work to include sustainability, environmental justice and ecosocial transition as goals and practices of the profession (Dominelli, 2011, 2012, 2018; Lysack, 2007, 2008; Tidball et al., 2014). Given the global ecological crisis, a rapidly growing field is starting to emerge that will likely gain importance and scale.

Environmental justice is defined by questions of global interconnection, social justice, and inclusivity. However, there is much evidence that the discussion around environmental justice is Eurocentric and framed by Western hegemonic thought, language, and voice. Those who speak and who are heard are typically positioned in eurocentric spaces, and - in the quest for environmental justice - they tend to speak about and for everyone, including societies of the global South. Non-dominant (BIPOC) voices from Europe as well as voices from the global South are marginalized in the discussion and the field. It is, however, also clear that the impact of climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable (poor, women, indigenous & minority groups, elderly) (Hethrington and Boddy, 2013) and many call for social workers to play an active role to mitigate this (Molyneux, 2010; Närhi and Matthies, 2001). Thus, one may argue, at this point structures and practices of exclusion permeate ecosocial work’s quest for justice. In the presentation, we explore the structures that enable or disable certain voices and suggest possible openings for a de-centering of European ecosocial work.

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