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08. May 1945 – 2015. The Nazi genocide and some remarks on the role of social work in Germany

DornenIIHans-Uwe Otto, Bielefeld (Germany)

The liberation from Fascist rule in Germany also put an end to the Nazi genocide of Jews in Europe (often referred to as holocaust or shoa), as well as the murder of Roma, homosexuals, the psychic ill, Russian prisoners of war, political opponents and others. Crimes of such a magnitude demand an ever watchful remembrance and demonstrate, respectively, the power and powerlessness of perpetrators and victims. It also shows the constant need to be on the guard against inhumane ideologies and to be aware of the coercive character of certain structural arrangements – above all of the concentration camps, which were totally devoid of any semblance of civilisation: there was infinite suffering of millions of people who were pushed around, humiliated or murdered. Sadly, these facts are in danger of being forgotten again by the new majority society. This is what makes moments of remembrance of what happened 70 years ago so important: they admonish us, challenge us, force us to reflect, point out shame and guilt. All this underscores the validity of the fundamental question: How could it happen, to exclude whole categories of people radically, to annihilate them socially, emotionally and existentially, to murder them systematically? Read the rest of this entry »

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Socmag_Bild_SchwerpunktthemaSince the beginning of April 2015 until the last days more than 50.000 refugees arrived at the European borders and more than 1.750 died since the beginning of the year while trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. European politicians meet in refugee crisis conferences and commiserate the death of so many refugees. The news all over Europe are full of reports on refugees and the quest for solutions. Amnesty International and others critizise the measures discussed in Europe as “a woefully inadequate and shameful response to the crisis in the Mediterranean that will fail to end the spiral of deaths at sea” and there are a number of initiatives who try to keep track of the developments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Undermining of human rights of refugees in Germany at present

Socmag_Bild_WestermannAische Westermann, Aachen (Germany)

Social Work in Germany is still focusing great challenges in concerns of politics for human rights of refugees. Accommodation, racism, education of children and adults, advertisement for solidarity and inclusion have been main topics in the past, but especially are at present due to racist attacks on refugee homes every week, a huge readiness of the population to help voluntarily, a skeptical Federal Minister of the Interior and extreme distress of communes in terms of needing to cope with the increasing numbers of refugees.
This article will focus on how the German state tries to profit of refugees and migrants and refuses at same time to give entire and true access to human rights to illustrate main fields of action of Social Work today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Social work in refugee centres in Poland

Socmag_Bild_PrusinowskaMagdalena Prusinowska, Gdańsk (Poland)

In this text I would like to draw attention to refugee centres as an important context for the social work field. In order to understand the context in which the centres operate, it is necessary to point to visible trends in the EU migration policies, that is: criminalisation of external migration into the EU, sealing of the external borders, deterrence and restrictionism (Sigona, 2005). Additionally, the asylum application procedures themselves are often marked by “culture of disbelief” (Jubany, 2011), which is a phenomenon characterised by distrust towards asylum seekers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doctors Without Borders provides support to people on the move

Socmag_Bild_SchwarzMeike Schwarz, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) (Germany)

When yet another boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea in February 2015 and claimed the lives of more than 300 refugees, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) could no longer just stand and watch. We publicly appealed to the European Union (EU) to change its migration and border policy and to stop endangering the lives of thousands of people. “The EU´s restrictive border policy gives desperate refugees no choice but to take the dangerous route over the ocean,” according to Manu Moncada, coordinator of MSF´s missions in Italy. “Italy and the other EU member states finally have to take responsibility and seriously address the crisis to avoid further unnecessary deaths” (Press release: MSF calls on European Union to take its responsibility to stop putting migrants’ lives at risk: Read the rest of this entry »

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Transforming Societies – A Challenge for Social Work in Europe. Reflections of the PhD-Pre Conference debate

Socmag_Bild_RademakerAnna Lena Rademaker, Bielefeld (Germany); Holly L. Gordon, Staffordshire (UK);
Júlia Wéber, Kassel (Germany); Bernd Christmann, Münster (Germany);
Gorana Panic, Jyväskylä (Finland); Maija Mänttäri-van der Kuip, Jyväskylä (Finland)

“Business as usual – carrying on as social work has done so far – working in the well-known manner while the world is transforming? Can that be the perspective for critical social work? In societies where poverty, unemployment and inequality of opportunities are symptomatic features of a radicalised market system? On the one hand, these trends threaten to obliterate the classical fields of social work engagement, on the other they make them more demanding. These trends, which encroach increasingly on most European countries, challenge us to act with determination.” (TiSSA 2014) Read the rest of this entry »

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Social Work as ‘Political Economy’

Verstrickt (2)Kyösti Urponen, Lapland (Finland)

Social work definitions create an idealistic image

In general terms it can be said that the definitions of social work are characterized by narrow and idealistic pictures of their objective.  The definitions distort the reality. They emphasize the social work’s ethical and moral nature in a one-sided way. The definitions ‘downgrade’, or even ignore the social work’s political and economic nature. Also, the over-historical characterizations of social work constitutes a problem relative to its definitions. The definitions guiding construction of paradigm of social work have to reflec the reality of its own given place and each time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Review//: Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times, by Marianne Cooper

Socmag_Bild_RezensionJesse D. Casper, Sioux Falls (U.S.A)

Book Review//: Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times, by Marianne Cooper. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014, 296 pages, $29.95 (paperback). Read the rest of this entry »

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