Social work is challenged by the social, structural and economic ruptures in the rapidly changing European societies. This raises inevitably the question of its professional identity. It faces not only growing competition from other professions, but also uncertainties concerning its areas of specialization. It is also confronted with the divisive effects of neo-liberal modernization policies. Social work’s future identity depends on its ability to achieve political acceptance for its reflexive self-definition which corresponds to the quality requirements and stands up to prevailing social challenges.
For this purpose a yardstick needs to be found for a critical analysis of social work both in relation to its functions and to its practical stance against the reproduction of social inequality. In particular, the problem of finding a normative basis needs to be addressed as a precondition for designing an action framework for problem-oriented interventions. Thus, the issue concerns problems of professionalization and organization on the one hand and political empowerment of the service users on the other hand.
This relates to the question of how a model of critical social work can be substantiated and how practice can confront the growing tendencies in market-oriented social policies, defining self-responsibility as a task for service users as individuals. As a result, in all countries one can observe an increase in the number of people affected by poverty and unemployment with particularly devastating consequences for children and young people.
Against this background, the question has to be answered which model of identity social work can develop to assert itself against structures dominated by criteria of efficiency, effectiveness and very often driven by managerialistic power positions? Can social work achieve a return to critical, effective and sustainable discourses in the political arena over issues of ‘enabling justice’ and promote concrete opportunities for the realization of such goals for all disadvantaged groups?
TISSA 2011 invites scholars and practitioners from different countries to share their experiences and a vision of professional identity which will have an impact on current social policies and promote participative welfare initiatives.
The international pre-conference for postgraduate and other interested students from all areas of Social Work from 21 – 23 August 2011 will also take place at the University Hradec Králové. Here dissertation and research projects are presented independent of the conference subject. Participation in the subsequent international conference is of course possible and very welcome.
The conference language of both meetings will be English. However, a basic knowledge of English will be sufficient.
TISSA 2011 in Hradec Králové (close to Prague) – a unique scientific event in the field of Social Work on the European level with its peer-to-peer discourse of plenary and group sessions as well as new opportunities to meet on the international level. With their important roles in European history Hradec Králové and Prague are also fascinating travel destinations.
For further information on the conference, hotel reservations and tourist sights go to: www.tissa.net