For-profit companies have begun competing with women’s shelters for ‘clients’ trying to escape violence. Using discourse theory, this study examines how 20 private shelters describe their business. The analysis shows that private shelters describe themselves as: (1) having a broad expertise and target group: (2) being able to tend to the individual needs of any client; and (3) being highly available and flexible. We understand this as an expression of a neoliberal market discourse and as a way to differentiate themselves from women’s shelters. This may put pressure on women’s shelters to provide similar ‘inclusion’, availability and flexibility. Furthermore: (4) private shelters contribute to shaping a desirable neoliberal subject, that is, a self-reliant woman; and (5), by articulating needs as individual and inherently mundane, they lean more towards ‘providing accommodation’ than addressing the particularities of (gendered) violence.
The online lifeworld gives adolescents various opportunities to meet their developmental needs. Not all young people benefit from these opportunities. They encounter negative experiences, have difficulties fulfilling their needs and engage in risky and harmful behaviours in the online lifeworld. This poses challenges for Dutch youth work professionals, as little is known about the digital lives of Dutch adolescents and the challenges they encounter when meeting their developmental needs in the online lifeworld. In this qualitative study, a photovoice method was used to collect screenshots from adolescents (N = 175) concerning their experiences and needs in the online lifeworld. Six types of developmental needs in the online lifeworld were distinguished. The article concludes that understanding how adolescents use online affordances to fulfil their developmental needs is a starting point for all youth work professionals in providing adequate support to adolescents in the online lifeworld.
In recent decades, a lot of Western countries have been engaged in a heated debate on how to come to terms with their colonial past. Leaving behind the idea that colonial history consists mainly of common achievements, the former philanthropic narrative of ‘modernisation’ and ‘progress’ has been critically analysed and dissected as the awareness of its painful episodes grew. In this vein, the postcolonial history in Belgium is an interesting case to examine, as it has long been one of the most criticised colonial metropoles for the way in which it deals with its colonial past, precisely because Belgium has persisted in focusing on the positive aspect of that past. Consequently, a whole part of this history has not yet been processed and is mainly part of a contested past. Social work practices have long sought to remain neutral in this discussion, but this awareness of history as a dynamic weaving of a multiplicity of different strands of identity also applies directly to the development of social work as a profession. From a social work perspective, it is impossible to retreat into a viewpoint outside of history, as we must become aware that social work practices are deeply embedded in historical and cultural habits from which we cannot disengage. In this article, we argue that social work needs to critically deal with its own confusing history, with which it is interwoven, in order to be able to clarify what contemporary social work represents.
Critical incident reflection is a set of procedures for promoting, thinking about, reflecting upon and learning about oneself or other individuals, organisations and/or processes based on direct observations of human behaviour. Critical incident reflection consists of reflections based on analysis of the surprises, discomforts and worries in practice, as well as a critical re-examination, with the aim of developing new knowledge, skills and values. Critical incident reflection was developed over a period of time and is based on such processes as theoretical analysis, meetings between researchers, practitioners and students, and two pilots and a lab. All parts of the processes originate from a Nordic network, Knowledge Production in Social Work, which has been running for almost 20 years. In this article, experiences from these developments are elaborated. It is asked how the critical incident reflection tool can be developed through co-creation, and how it can be used as an innovative approach to analyse, develop and advance social work. The main conclusion is that critical incident reflection is an evolving method that can be applied to advance social work practice, as well as a teaching method for developing student skills.
As the scale of global refugee migration has steadily increased, Germany has become a major immigration country. The social inclusion of refugee families is crucial for both the families and the receiving society, and thus represents an important societal challenge. Family centres, which already offer low-threshold, universal family support services, could facilitate this process of social inclusion. Implementing a qualitative longitudinal research study, the authors conducted problem-centred expert interviews with social workers in 2016 (32 interviews) and again in 2019 (33 interviews) to explore the local experiences of social work for and with refugee families. The systematically analysed data revealed not only various good practices of how family centres actively include refugees in family support programmes but also the frustration and exhaustion of social workers, who face several challenges that seem to hinder the inclusion of refugee families. Over the short period of three-and-a-half years, the data show evidence of a shift in activities, challenges and attitudes.
In 2020, the Swiss Federal Commission for Migration launched a new programme called ‘New us’. The national programme called for participatory projects that question the ‘us and them’ binary and present alternative models for strengthening cultural participation, social cohesion and a polyphonic ‘us’ in Switzerland. This contribution critically appraises a citizen-art project that met the funding criteria of ‘New us’. We argue that the scientific approach of developmental evaluation serves as a compass for the development and steering of open-ended participatory processes. The combined reflection on the artistic and scientific evaluation process engages social work research in the facilitation of cultural participation.
The research focus of the article – based on Aaron Antonovsky’s sense of coherence – is the analysis of recovery from the perspective of clinical social work. The methodological approach adopted in the study is based on the co-creation of knowledge together with 29 people experienced in deep mental health problems who agreed to participate in the process of intersubjectively defining mental crises, the possibilities of overcoming these and thus the ways of understanding recovery. The results of the study show that the basis of the recovery process is meeting a set of five needs: (1) effectiveness, (2) emotionality, (3) connectedness, (4) coherent identity and (5) affirmation of the past. A certain pool of individual experiences acquired during this process is a source of the formation of internalised beliefs that can be linked by a sense of ‘manageability’ (resulting from the satisfaction of the first three of the aforementioned needs), ‘comprehensibility’ (related to the need for ‘coherent identity’) and ‘meaningfulness’ (related to the need to ‘affirm the past’).