Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

The issues involved in poverty, inequality and social justice are many and varied, from basic access to education and healthcare, to the financial crisis and resulting austerity, and now COVID-19. Addressing Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, our list both presents research on these topics and tackles emerging problems. A key series in the area is the SSSP Agendas for Social Justice.

This focus has always been at the heart of our publishing with the view to making the research in this area as visible and accessible as possible in order to maximise its potential impact.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Poverty, inequality and social justice, we aim to address the following goals: 

Poverty, Inequality and Social Justice

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Public awareness of social welfare policies, along with their increasing political influence, has led to growing interest in welfare attitudes. However, there has been insufficient consideration of the effects of different cohorts and social exclusion groups on attitudes to welfare in Korean society, as well as the dynamics of these effects. This article specifically examines changes in attitudes to welfare in South Korea with a focus on cohort and social exclusion perspectives. First, the study found that recent attitudes towards redistribution highlight generational perspectives on intergenerational conflict rather than a focus on social exclusion. Second, cohorts associated with democratisation and the information age displayed reluctance towards tax increases but held favourable views regarding redistributive policies and universal welfare. Third, socially excluded groups tended to favour selective welfare and tax increases. Finally, the current elderly generation, represented by the War-industrialisation cohort, exhibited relatively negative attitudes towards the welfare system compared to subsequent generations. These findings underscore the necessity for expanding government policies to enhance welfare understanding and experiences among the post-war generation and socially excluded groups. Additionally, it is crucial to address generational distributional justice and to broaden discussions on solidarity.

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This article reflects on the recent ‘turn to lived experience’ within academia and the third sector in the UK and discusses some issues arising. It then focuses on ways in which these issues might be addressed – including through a methodology employed by ATD Fourth World, an international human rights-based anti-poverty organisation founded after the Second World War that works in partnership with people affected by poverty. ATD developed the ‘merging of knowledge and practice’ to bring together different kinds of expertise, including that acquired from lived experience, to create a richer form of knowledge and better-informed practice. The article discusses this method and suggests various ways in which the lived experience of poverty can be embedded in public debate, policy and practice. People with experience of poverty can be involved in examining and conveying the many dimensions of that experience; providing training for officials dealing with people in poverty; and designing and evaluating relevant policies.

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In a conversation with the editors of the book, Ánneristen Juuso discusses Sámi identity in contemporary Finland. The interview offers a historical and contemporary analysis of the deracination of Sámi peoples and the intentional and strategic formation of a hegemonic Finnish national identity, a process that renders Indigenous rights and knowledge invisible. The phenomena of Finnish coloniality, and its denial, sets the context for othering immigrants and refugees who also face erasure, othering and enforced dependency.

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This chapter summarises Chapters 3–6 under the categories of the proposed three aspects of planning – two of which have been present, in various guises, since the start of the book – what/who matters (central to Archer’s model of reflexivity and planning, and richly discussed by care-leavers in this study), and a sense of personal time and planning (initially via some care-leavers’ scepticism about future-oriented planning), and the third, shared deliberation and shared planning strongly ‘present’ in the secondary analyses in Chapters 3–6. These three aspects (of planning) might each be viewed as strengths, in contrast to the view that ‘lack’ of future-oriented planning might be regarded as a vulnerability. The chapter, read together with Chapter 8, can provide a ‘live iteration’ in which qualitative data are summarised from Chapters 3–6 and, in Chapter 8, the work of Michael Bratman is discussed, whose work interplays in a deeply fascinating way with the voices of the young people in Chapters 3–6. His idea of the ‘remarkable trio of capacities’ for planning is a major source of the idea of the three-aspects model of planning for this book, in interplay with Archer’s work on reflexivity in social context, and re-imagined via young people’s sense of personal time.

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The conclusion to the edited volume, Decolonising Social Work in Finland: Racialisation and Practices of Care, identifies the main themes in the book. The book examines how colonial structures, systems, knowledge and ways of being still influence society and social work practices in Finland. In pointing out the myriad ways that asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants inhabit precarious circumstances amid welfare state nationalism and homonationalism, the authors call for a more emancipatory Finnish social work praxis. It argues that decoloniality is not a vague futurism, but rather a practice that requires practitioners to imagine and design pathways for learning, engaging, revising and responding to the everyday ways that colonial ideology is rooted in systems of welfare.

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This chapter examines how universalism is implemented in practice in the contemporary Finnish public health and social services by analysing the service experiences of 20 migrant parents of a disabled child. The focus lies on the structures and practices in the services that frame the everyday lives of migrant parents. The analysis reveals systematic limitations based on implicit bias. Monolingual practices, standardised services and asymmetrical relationships between parents and professionals appear to be connected with universalistic practices that limit parents’ agency in many ways while they struggle to contact, find and use information about services. More inclusive health and social care services require recognising and addressing the different needs of a diverse population.

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Three academics moving and living in Nordic countries and the West Coast of the US explore practices of city walking as a means of challenging colonial public archives. City walks from Gothenburg, Sweden and Fresno, California, are scrutinised as examples of decolonial social work pedagogy that build on Yoon-Ramirez’s (2021) notion of sensory and experiential learning as well as Sharp’s (2016) concept of ‘wake work’. The practice of wake work, which entails counter-archiving, is a decolonial pedagogy that challenges and attempts to rupture the colonial narratives and spatial mappings that erase specific communities’ histories and contributions to our collective spaces. By moving collectively through city space and counter-archiving public art, monuments and various geographic locations through dialogues, we aimed to make visible the everyday salience of colonial history in these city spaces.

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In this chapter, our goal is for Finnish social workers to understand the health-promoting benefits and significance of mindfulness for systems change. We present information regarding the use of mindfulness interventions to support social worker healing and practices, share the ways that decolonised mindfulness can engage practitioners in systems thinking and change, and offer mindful meditations for students and practitioners to use. We encourage both social work students and practitioners to use mindfulness to promote their own individual health and well-being and also to engage in wise judgements that collectively lead to social workers being good ancestors to future generations.

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Racialisation and Practices of Care

This book examines the contemporary social care realities and practices of Finland, a small nation with a history enmeshed in social relations as both colonizer and colonized. Decolonising Social Work in Finland:

• Interrogates coloniality, racialization and diversity in the context of Finnish social work and social care.

• Brings together racialized and mainstream white Finnish researchers, activists, and community members to challenge relations of epistemic violence on racialized populations in Finland.

• Critically unpacks colonial views of care and wellbeing.

It will be essential reading for international scholars and students in the fields of Social Work, Sociology, Indigenous Studies, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Education.

Introduction and Chapter 10 available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

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In the Nordic context, young asylum seekers of colour are often presented as potential societal threats through racialised risk-based discourses, which contrasts with the anti-racist principles of social work. Nevertheless, social work has shortcomings in effectively addressing cultural and racial otherisation. This results in contributing to and maintaining White normativity as well as Eurocentric and colonial epistemologies in professional settings. This chapter discusses arts-based social work research with young people from asylum-seeking backgrounds. It combines theoretical perspectives from critical Whiteness studies, decolonial and Indigenous paradigms. The findings suggest arts-based entry points that integrate social and environmental aspects and centralise the knowledge, creativity, capabilities, and agency of youths. Ultimately, the chapter discusses ways to strengthen an anti-racist stance and advance epistemological pluralism in social work.

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