HomeThe spaces of social work

The spaces of social work

Les espaces du travail social

Los espacios del trabajo social

Espaces et sociétés

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Published on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

There are many studies in the social sciencestracing the history of social work and analyzing its practices, but the diversity of the spaces in which this practice takes place is rarely a central focus. Indeed, social work operates in a multitude of physical and social spaces – urban, periurban and rural areas, city centres and suburbs, working-class neighbourhoods and slum districts, public and private spaces, open and closed environments, involving publics that may be captive, sedentary, nomadic or itinerant. And the relationships between these publics and their respective spaces are multiple as well.

Announcement

Argument

There are many studies in the social sciencestracing the history of social work and analyzing its practices, but the diversity of the spaces in which this practice takes place is rarely a central focus. Indeed, social work operates in a multitude of physical and social spaces – urban, periurban and rural areas, city centres and suburbs, working-class neighbourhoods and slum districts, public and private spaces, open and closed environments, involving publics that may be captive, sedentary, nomadic or itinerant. And the relationships between these publics and their respective spaces are multiple as well.

This call for papers is directed at research expanding our knowledge about the social workers’ relationship to space and the way these professionals ‘work on’ their spaces in turn.

A first group of questions deals with the sectoral breakdown of social work. In France, for example, the field is highly divided into sectors. To what extent is this the case in other national contexts? Who determines the areas of intervention and under what criteria? How much autonomy is left to the actors in this field? What do such sectoral divisions reveal about policy guidelines concerning social work? And what forms does this sectorization take (or not) in other national contexts? Moreover, social work organizations and public structures do not all benefit from the same means or degree of autonomy. What are the consequences of these inequalities for the territories concerned? What is their impact on the social workers' different forms of involvement in local democracy and collective actions, whether legal (such as demonstrations) or illegal (riots)? How do social workers create (or not) political bonds within neighbourhood communities that are often quite vulnerable, and who benefits from them? What consequences does the termination of these actions (owing to their transfer to other intervention sectors, budget and staff reductions, etc.) have on the territories and their inhabitants?

Another line of enquiry concerns the way the sharing of the space has been negotiated since the emergence of the 'new professions' in the social field (as has been the case in France since the 1990s)  – activity leaders in municipal youth centres, mediators, troubleshooters, adult relays and so on – many of which are intended to prevent or regulate disturbances in the public space. How is the space shared or divided up with older professions such as the so-called street educators? What are the relationships between the division of the physical space (coexistence) and the targeting of populations on the one hand, and the allocation of pubic funding on the other? In such a context of competition between professionals in the social field, how do spatial boundaries between the different professions and sectors resist the demand for ‘partnership’ in France and elsewhere?

Yet another issue: certain spaces – offices, conference rooms, hostels and other collective residences, etc. – are considered as tools for social work. How are they planned and who decides on the way they are arranged? How do they permit the support and/or control of users? In a facility where social workers intervene alongside other professionals (medico-social structures, companies, schools, etc.), how is the space distributed and what hierarchies or forms of collaboration does this reveal?

A final group of questions is raised by the fact that social workers often intervene in the home, whether for social surveys, educational measures or assistance to dependent seniors. How do they work in this private, intimate space of someone’s ‘own four walls’? How do they situate themselves? What are the domestic indications (in terms of furnishings, hygiene, comfort level, etc.) allowing the professionals to make a diagnosis and how do they acquire the skills allowing them to establish thresholds and perceive boundaries?

The coordinators of this thematic issue will be particularly receptive to articles addressing the spatial dimension of social work and its impact, as well as comparative studies at local, national or international level.

Coordination

  • Thomas Sauvadet,
  • Tristana Pimor
  • Florence Bouillon 

Calendar

  • 31st September 2017: deadline for submitting articles

  • 15 October 2017 : information for authors 

Adress for correspondence

Exclusively electronically by email to the following addresses:

  • thomas.sauvadet@u-pec.fr ;
  • florence.bouillon@gmail.com
  • tristana.pimor@u-pec.fr;  

Authors with questions concerning the relevance of their proposalcan contact the coordinators.

Warning:

  • The review does not want proposals for articles but the articles directly,
  • Articles should not exceed 42 000 characters (including spaces) including: text, notes, references, appendices, but excluding abstracts.
  • Advice to authors appear in each issue.
  • The standards of presentation and advice to authors are available on the website of the journal: http://www.espacesetsocietes.msh-paris.fr/conseils.html
  • The review notes that at any time authors may submit articles Varia, outside of the themes of the issues on the topics of relationship between spaces, territories and populations broadly understood and meeting publication standards; if accepted, these articles are published quickly.

Date(s)

  • Friday, September 01, 2017

Keywords

  • travail social, pauvreté, politique publique, prévention, éducation

Information source

  • Anne de Reyniès
    courriel : espacesetsocietes [at] msh-paris [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The spaces of social work », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 01, 2017, https://calenda.org/396623

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